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. Unfortunately, not every type of cancer can be helped by targeted therapy.
There are many different types of targeted therapies available to treat people with a variety of cancers and are considered the gold standard of treatment for certain cancers (such as the use of Gleevec® for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia or CML). There are few options available for our companion animals. The two main groups of these therapies include monoclonal antibodies (see Immunotherapy section) and small molecule inhibitors, such as Palladia.
Palladia® (toceranib phosphate) is FDA-approved for dogs with grade II or III recurrent cutaneous mast cell cancer with or without regional lymph node involvement. Palladia is a multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitor, 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, although the efficacy of this drug against other cancers has not been clearly defined. 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.