• Open Access

Evaluation of Cisplatin as an Electrochemotherapy Agent for the Treatment of Incompletely Excised Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs


  • The study was conducted at the Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. This work was presented at the ACVIM Forum 2009, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Corresponding author: Dr E.P. Spugnini, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, SAFU Department, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Via delle Messi d' Oro 156, 00158 Rome, Italy; e-mail: info@enricospugnini.net.


Background: Electrochemotherapy (ECT) couples the administration of anticancer drugs with the delivery of electric pulses that increase the drug uptake through the cell membranes, resulting in an improved efficacy.

Hypothesis: To evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of cisplatin (CDDP) as an ECT agent to prevent recurrence of incompletely resected mast cell tumors (MCTs).

Animals: Thirty-seven dogs.

Methods: Prospective study recruiting dogs with incompletely excised MCTs as confirmed by surgeon and pathology reports. After debulking, the tumor bed and margins were infiltrated with CDDP, and then exposed to trains of biphasic electrical pulses under sedation. Five minutes after the injection of the chemotherapy agent, sequences of 8 biphasic pulses lasting 50 + 50 μs each, were delivered in bursts of 1,300 V/cm for sclerosed and of 800 V/cm for exposed lesions, with caliper or needle array electrodes, respectively. A second session was performed 1 or 2 weeks later based on clinical considerations.

Results: The treatment was well tolerated with minimal adverse effects. Twenty-nine dogs had no evidence of recurrence over the 6-year study period, 6 had tumor recurrence, 1 died of multiple cutaneous MCTs, and 1 died of unrelated causes. The estimated median time to recurrence was 1,200 days. Recurrence was not observed among the long-term (>1 year) treated dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: ECT with CDDP appears effective in the treatment of incompletely resected MCT in dogs and could be a useful addition to the current options based on its low cost, limited toxicity, and ease of administration.