Helping more dogs — supplements and drug repurposing for canine lymphoma

Principal Investigator: Kelly Hume

Department of Clinical Sciences
Sponsor: Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center Research Grants Program
Title: Helping more dogs — supplements and drug repurposing for canine lymphoma
Project Amount: $99,975
Project Period: July 2022 to June 2023

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

Lymphoma is a cancer of lymphocytes estimated to affect 1 in 15 dogs. Up to 50% of dogs diagnosed with lymphoma may never actually receive treatment due to associated costs, toxicities, and lack of cure associated with traditional, cytotoxic, multi-drug chemotherapy. When owners of affected dogs choose not to pursue treatment with muti-drug chemotherapy, veterinarians generally prescribe prednisone, a corticosteroid. Additionally, owners of affected dogs often seek over-the-counter oral supplements, nutraceuticals, and homeopathic medications to administer to their dogs. Peer-reviewed data demonstrating efficacy and safety of these products in dogs with lymphoma is generally lacking.

The goal of this study is to assess cancer progression, adverse events, and quality of life in dogs with lymphoma receiving prednisone in combination with either a supplement, a repurposed antibiotic, or an oral antineoplastic that has received conditional approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration. Dogs will be enrolled through the Cornell University Hospital for Animals Oncology Service and undergo complete staging to determine extent of disease. Dogs will then be randomized to one of three study groups – prednisone + supplement, prednisone + antibiotic, or prednisone + oral antineoplastic. Dogs will receive the indicated medication and/or product, and then be reassessed at pre-determined intervals.

We hypothesize that dogs in the prednisone + antibiotic and prednisone + oral antineoplastic groups will have improved outcomes compared to dogs in the prednisone + supplement group. We expect that quality of life will be similar in the prednisone + antibiotic and prednisone + supplement study groups, but that dogs receiving prednisone + oral antineoplastic may experience increased adverse events. We will also determine whether immunophenotype and MHC II expression is prognostic in our study population. With our research, we will identify if an over-the-counter supplement is indeed safe to administer to dogs with lymphoma and whether a specific antineoplastic protocol has similar or improved outcomes to less costly interventions. These results will allow families of affected dogs to make well-informed decisions regarding the strategy best-suited to treat their dog and maintain their dog’s quality of life.