Treatment For Dogs With Recurrent Cutaneous Plasmacytomas

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My 6-year-old Flat Coated Retriever has had 2 cutaneous plasmacytomas removed in 3 months. Can you steer me towards suggested treatment?  
Thank you!

Lili Duda, VMD, Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Section, responds:

Cutaneous plasmacytomas are relatively benign skin tumors that derive from a type of white blood cell known as a plasma cell. It is not uncommon for a dog to develop more than one plasmacytoma, either at the same time or over a period of time. These tumors are almost always separate primary tumors, rather than spread of a single primary tumor to multiple sites. They are unlikely to spread elsewhere; so local control of the tumor is the primary goal.

Surgery is the treatment of choice—if the tumor can be completely removed with "clean" margins, then no further treatment is necessary. If surgery cannot completely eliminate the tumor, radiation therapy can be used to eradicate the residual cells, as these tumors are very radiation sensitive. Very rarely, cutaneous plasmacytomas might be associated with the systemic form of the disease, known as multiple myeloma. In multiple myeloma, cancerous plasma cells invade the bone marrow and produce large quantities of abnormal proteins. This form of the disease carries a poor prognosis, but as mentioned earlier, is very rarely associated with the benign cutaneous form of the disease.