Use of Prednisone in Cats' Cancer Treatment

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Question
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My cat was diagnosed with mammary cancer 3 years ago and had surgery but no other treatment was suggested. Tumors recurred with a second surgery recently. She is now on a chemotherapy schedule but prognosis is poor. One of the drugs she is taking is prednisone (daily) and I would like to know what effect this drug is supposed to have.  
Thank you.


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

Prednisone is a drug that has many uses. It is related to cortisone and cortisol, which are naturally produced by the body in tiny quantities. At low dosages, prednisone is an anti-inflammatory drug useful in a variety of conditions such as allergies. At high dosages, it is immunosuppresive (for auto-immune and immune-mediated diseases) and chemotherapeutic for a few particular blood cancers such as lymphoma and mast cell tumors. At moderate dosages it is an appetite stimulant and anti-nausea medication. Prednisone is often used in cats receiving chemotherapy such as doxorubicin (Adriamycin) for this reason.



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Jul 21, 2011 - Treatment with bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone results in better initial tumor control in Hodgkin's lymphoma than treatment with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine, but there is no difference in long-term outcome, according to a study published in the July 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.



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