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Keywords:

  • blood;
  • feline;
  • lymphocytosis;
  • neoplasm;
  • oncology

Abstract

There is little information regarding the presentation, biologic behaviour, treatment and prognosis in cats with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), and further investigation is needed to characterize this disease in cats. The goal of this study was to describe the clinical presentation, response to treatment and prognosis of feline CLL. A multi-institutional retrospective study of 18 cats diagnosed with CLL between 2000 and 2010 was performed. CLL was defined as the presence of a mature lymphocytosis (>9000 lymphocytes µL−1) and confirmation of an immunophenotypically monomorphic or clonal lymphoid population. Each patient was required to also have at least one of the two following criteria: (1) concurrent cytopenia of at least one cell line and/or (2) >15% mature lymphocytes in the bone marrow. Data on signalment, history, clinical signs, clinicopathologic features and response to treatment were reviewed. Median age of the cats at initial presentation was 12.5 years (range: 5–20 years). The most common presenting complaint was chronic weight loss, which was present in 8/18 (44%) cats. Sixteen of 18 (89%) cats were treated with chlorambucil and prednisolone; four of these cats also received vincristine. Two (11%) cats were treated with multi-agent injectable chemotherapy (L-CHOP, l-asparaginase, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone). Eighty-eight percent of cats evaluable for response achieved a complete (nine cats) or partial (six cats) remission. Median overall remission was 15.7 months (range: 1.3–22.8 months). The median overall survival in the 17 cats with follow-up data was 14.4 months (range: 0.9–25.3 months). Results of this study suggest that CLL affects older-aged cats and responds favourably to treatment with oral chlorambucil and prednisolone.