Canine Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Pilot study involving a novel nanoparticle radiosensitizer in pet dogs with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity

Investigators: Dr. Michael Childress, Dr. Isabelle Vanhaezebrouck

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is one of the most common tumors occurring in the oral cavity of dogs. Although it can be cured by surgical removal, curative surgery requires removal of portion of the upper or lower jaw bones. As a result, large SCC often cannot be cured surgically because removal of too much bone is required. Radiation therapy can be an effective therapy for SCC, but is only rarely curative. The purpose of this study is to determine whether injecting a new radiosensitizing nanoparticle drug into the tumor prior to radiation therapy will result in improved anti-cancer effects of radiation therapy. Results from this pilot study will help us to design follow-up studies in dogs and humans with SCC that cannot be cured surgically.

Eligibility for Dogs to Participate in the Study:

  • Biopsy-confirmed SCC of the oral cavity (mouth) that is not amenable surgical removal or for which the owner has declined surgical removal
  • Dogs in generally good health without significant concurrent illness

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Primary tumor significantly smaller than 3 cm or larger than 6 cm in maximal diameter
  • Presence of cancer metastasis to any organ
  • Presence of serious heart or lung disease that would preclude general anesthesia for radiation therapy
  • Presence of bleeding problems that would preclude tumor biopsy

Financial Support:

  • The total cost to the client for radiation therapy and associated diagnostic test will be discounted to a flat fee of $1,000 (regular cost approximately $6,000)

Trial Starting Date:

  • Enrollment temporarily on hiatus
  • NOTE: A 2-week lead-time is needed to produce the nanoparticle treatment for each dog enrolled, so dogs requiring urgent radiation therapy may not be ideal candidates for this trial.

For Questions, please call:

Dr. Michael Childress at (765) 494-1107


Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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