BACKGROUND: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and metronomic dosing of cyclophosphamide (CYC) can improve tumor control by suppression of regulatory T cells (Treg) and restoration of T cell-mediated immune responses in mice and humans. The immunomodulatory effects of the TKI toceranib, as a single agent or in combination with metronomic CYC, have not been previously investigated in dogs.
HYPOTHESIS: The primary objectives of this study were to determine the effects of toceranib and metronomic CYC treatment on lymphocyte subsets including Treg and on interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) secretion in dogs with cancer. We hypothesized that toceranib would selectively decrease Treg numbers and increase IFN-γ production and that addition of CYC would further enhance these effects.
ANIMALS: Fifteen client-owned dogs with advanced tumors were entered into a prospective clinical trial.
METHODS: Dogs received toceranib at 2.75 mg/kg once every other day. After 2 weeks, oral CYC was added at 15 mg/m(2) daily. Numbers of Treg and lymphocyte subsets were measured in blood by flow cytometry during the 8-week study period. Serum concentrations of IFN-γ were measured by ELISA.
RESULTS: Administration of toceranib significantly decreased the number and percentage of Treg in the peripheral blood of dogs with cancer. Dogs receiving toceranib and CYC demonstrated a significant increase in serum concentrations of IFN-γ, which was inversely correlated with Treg numbers after 6 weeks of combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: In addition to antitumor effects, these data support further investigations into the immunomodulatory effects of toceranib, administered alone or in combination with CYC in dogs with cancer.
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