Journal Scan: Feline mast cell tumors: An overview with a view to a cure
In this review, the authors discuss the clinical challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of feline mast cell disease and provide an overview of current treatment options.
Once MCT is diagnosed, staging should be performed in cats with either visceral MCT or cutaneous MCT. Staging includes a complete blood count (CBC) with buffy coat evaluation, serum chemistry profile, coagulation profile, and evaluation of a bone marrow aspirate. Abdominal and thoracic imaging may be helpful in identifying pleural effusion, organomegaly, lymphadenopathy, or the presence of concurrent disease. The authors note that cats with a single cutaneous nodule and no evidence of lymph node involvement may not require full staging, but they still recommend a CBC with buffy coat evaluation at a minimum with further staging if warranted.
Specimens should be submitted for histopathologic evaluation and assessment of surgical margins. But keep in mind that, unlike the grading scheme used in dogs, there is no currently accepted grading scheme for feline MCTs that is reliably prognostic.
Irradiation with strontium 90 may be considered as an alternative to surgery in cats with single or multiple cutaneous MCTs and no evidence of metastasis. Chemotherapy with lomustine has shown some promise but requires close monitoring for bone marrow or pulmonary toxicity.
Novel agents, such as receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors, have recently begun to emerge as potential new therapies for MCTs. Tyrosine kinases are growth factors that can result in abnormal cell proliferation when mutated. While further studies regarding their use in cats are warranted, preliminary data show favorable response.
Henry C, Herrera C. Mast cell tumors in cats: Clinical update and possible new treatment avenues. J Feline Med Surg 2013;15(1):41-47.
Link to abstract: http://jfm.sagepub.com/content/15/1/41.abstract