Canine Cancer Treatment Collaboration

Dogs suffering from types of blood cancer could have an alternative treatment thanks to the work of oncology experts searching for options that could help both pets and their human owners.

Verdinexor (KPT-335)

The new drug, Verdinexor (KPT-335), prevents tumour suppressant proteins from departing the nucleus of cells; a process which allows cancer to grow unchecked. The exciting new discovery is the first new option for lymphoma in dogs for more than two decades and could offer vets an alternative treatment for the most common form on canine cancer.

Verdinexor is totally different from traditional chemotherapy. It effectively prevents a protein contained in the cells from moving other proteins in and out of the cell nucleus, causing compromise of cell survival and ultimately, cell death. According to veterinary oncologists, Verdinexor offers another treatment option should chemotherapy fail.

Early studies of dogs suffering from newly diagnosed or relapsed forms of lymphoma revealed a slowing of tumour growth or total cessation of growth in many cases with in excess of 30 per cent of dogs actually experiencing regression. Another advantage of Verdinexor is that it can be administered orally by pet owners, meaning fewer visits to the vet. At present, dogs suffering from lymphoma must attend a veterinary surgeon once a week to receive chemotherapy infusions; a traumatic and upsetting experience for both dog and owner.


Human and canine cancer therapies are researched and used in very similar ways. This is because many types of cancers affecting both owners and their pets are identical both at molecular and cellular levels. This means that companion animals are ideal test patients for experimental compounds that offer potentially anti-cancer characteristics.

The research was carried out in parallel with scientists based at Ohio State’s James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute who at the time were studying an experimental drug, Selinexor (KPT-330), for the treatment of lymphoma in humans. Selinexor has a similar mechanism of action although its formula is slightly different from that of Verdinexor.

The canine treatment researchers conducted the initial Phase I of their study then shared data on dosing and regimen which was then adopted for the the human trials. Some dogs taking part in the trial suffered loss of appetite, so a suitable protocol was devised to combat this side-effect. The human trial were able to anticipate a similar reaction and manage it effectively too. This exchange of real-time information which would have been unheard of a decade ago, allows better clinical decisions to be made saving valuable time pursuing a regimen that would ultimately fail.

Further studies

The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved “minor use” of Verdinexor in animals, a conditional approval which requires manufacturer, Karyopharm Therapeutics, to carry out trials within the next five years. It’s expected that once the manufacturing processes of the new drug are established, some veterinary oncologists might be able to obtain Verdinexor in the next year or so.

Following the initial trials, it’s hoped that more research can be carried out into the efficacy of the new drug in the treatment of other types of cancers in dogs, such as melanoma. Further collaboration is then expected to take place with other research groups into the possible use of Verdinexor in the treatment of different blood cancers in humans.

In conclusion

It seems that dogs and humans have much in common when it comes to cancer. Dogs are already being used in the diagnosis of some forms of cancer (see previous article here on RECNAC), and now veterinary medicine and human oncology are coming together to help fight the disease.

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at

Alison Page

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