Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas in dogs

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: August 11, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My dog recently had a biopsy of a growth on his lip/gum and the results were Epitheliotropic Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (Mycosis Fungoides). It has been extremely difficult getting information about this cancer. I am most concerned with the following: I have been told that it is localized now and most likely hasn't spread to the lymph nodes. What is the likelihood of it spreading and what treatment would you recommend at this time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 


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

Not much is known about cutaneous T-cell lymphomas in dogs, and as a result there are no standard treatment protocols or even a very clear idea of prognosis. For disease that is generalized (which can appear as plaques, nodules, ulcerations or any combination), the prognosis is not good. If there is a solitary lesion then surgical excision is recommended. If surgical excision is not possible or is incomplete then radiation therapy is recommended. However, even if the disease is controlled at that location, it is possible that the disease has already spread regionally or become generalized but is not yet detectable clinically. If the disease is truly localized and the solitary lesion is controlled, then the prognosis is good. There is some suggestion that true oral mucosal mycosis fungoides carries a better prognosis than cutaneous mycosis fungoides. Various chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other agents have been tried for generalized cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Currently one common recommendation is a combination of lomustine (CCNU, an oral chemotherapy agent) and fatty acid supplementation.