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A New Drug for Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Dogs

terrier looking at camera

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common oral malignant tumor in dogs. They are locally invasive and often recurrent. They invade the bone rapidly and sometimes cannot be removed by surgery.

The aim of this clinical trial is to determine whether trametinib is effective at reducing the size of oral squamous cell carcinoma in dogs. Trametinib is an oral medication approved by the FDA for use in certain types of cancer in humans and has been previously found to be safe in dogs under experimental conditions. Our laboratory experiments indicate that canine oral squamous cell carcinomas are very sensitive to trametinib, suggesting that affected dogs might benefit from therapy. Our ultimate goal is to develop a novel therapy that can help improve outcomes and reduce side effects compared to traditional treatment strategies.

Eligibility: Dogs seen by the Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) who have been diagnosed with an oral squamous cell carcinoma are eligible.

Compensation: All visits and procedures directly related to and during the study will be performed entirely free of charge to you. The drug will also be provided to you free of charge. Additionally, if your dog either completes the study or is withdrawn from study for progression of disease, the study will cover an additional $1000 worth of medical expenses related to standard of care therapy for your dog's SCC.

Owner Responsibilities: We will ask you to bring your dog to the CUHA for follow up appointments on or around days 14, 30, 44, and 60. On days 14 and 44 we will conduct a physical exam and oral exam under light sedation. On days 30 and 60 we will do a physical exam and perform a full-body CT scan under general anesthesia to document response to treatment. Additionally we will take an additional biopsy of the tumor and aspirate a related lymph node.

You are also committing to give the medicine by mouth once daily. This medication is considered chemotherapy and safety instructions will be relayed to you. We will also ask you to complete a brief questionnaire about your dog's health once a week (either over the phone or in person at the visits).

Principal Investigator: Santiago Peralta, DVM, AVDC, FF-AVDC-OMFS

Contact/Schedule an Appointment: If you have a dog you think may be eligible please call either the dentistry serivce or the oncology service or the clinical trials coordinator at 607.253.3060, or email

Sponsor: This clinical trial is sponsored by the Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center