The aim of targeted therapy is to attack a certain target on cancer cells while doing less damage to the normal cells in the body. Targeted drugs can be used as the primary treatment for some cancers, but are more often used in combination with surgery, radiation therapy and standard chemotherapy.
There are many different types of targeted therapies available to treat people with a variety of cancers There are a few options available for our companion animals. The two main groups of these therapies include monoclonal antibodies (see lmmunotherapy section) and small molecule inhibitors, such as Palladia and Apoquel.
Palladia® (toceranib phosphate) is FDA-approved for dogs with grade II or Ill recurrent cutaneous mast cell cancer with or without regional lymph node involvement. Palladia is a multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitors, having both direct antitumor and anti-angiogenic activity. Palladia is also used off-label to treat a variety of other tumors in both dogs and cats, and is used most often for neuroendocrine carcinomas. Palladia is generally well tolerated but can cause side effects such as loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, low white blood cell counts and protein loss through the kidneys. Palladia can be used as a single agent in a treatment protocol, but it can also be combined with radiation therapy and standard chemotherapy. To see if Palladia is a treatment option for your pet, ask your oncologist.
Apoquel is a JAK-1 inhibitor and is often used for itchy dogs. This is a product that your general veterinarian would use for seasonal skin allergies/pruritis.
lmatinib is a product that was the first product used for chronic myelogenous leukemia against the BCR/ ABL mutation that has recently come off patent and is affordable for dogs and cats. It has use against vaccine associated sarcomas and cats and mast cell tumors in dogs.