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Objectives: To determine the survival of 54 cats with histologically confirmed feline oral squamous cell carcinoma (FOSCC) treated in UK general practice and to determine factors predictive for survival.

Methods: Cases were identified from consecutive samples submitted for histological diagnosis. Observational and survival data were collated retrospectively from submitting practices. Immunohistochemical analysis of cyclooxygenase (COX) expression variables was available using previously published data. Kaplan-Meier product limit estimation for overall survival and Cox proportional hazards regression for potential explanatory variables were performed.

Results: The overall median survival time was 44 days [95 per cent confidence interval (CI): 31–79] and 1 year survival was 9·5 per cent. Variables associated with survival were whether the cat was pedigree [hazard ratio (HR)=8·17, 95 per cent CI: 1·96–34·12], whether the cat received non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy after diagnosis (HR=0·46, 95 per cent CI: 0·21–0·98) and whether the COX-1 staining distribution was patchy rather than diffuse (HR=0·25, 95 per cent CI: 0·08–0·014).

Clinical Significance: This study suggests that although the prognosis for inoperable FOSCC remains poor, palliative treatments may offer a survival advantage that compares favourably with more aggressive treatment methods. Further work is needed to evaluate NSAID therapy in this disease, in particular to determine whether the potential survival advantage is because of an analgesic or anticancer effect or both. COX-1 distribution patterns may have a role as a prognostic indicator in this disease.