Spinal lymphoma in cats: 21 cases (1976-1989)

Gary J. Spodnick From the Departments of Small Animal Surgery (Spodnick and Berg), and Medicine (Cotter), School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536, and the Department of Pathology, Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 01230 (Moore).

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John Berg From the Departments of Small Animal Surgery (Spodnick and Berg), and Medicine (Cotter), School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536, and the Department of Pathology, Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 01230 (Moore).

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Frances M. Moore From the Departments of Small Animal Surgery (Spodnick and Berg), and Medicine (Cotter), School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536, and the Department of Pathology, Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 01230 (Moore).

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Susan M. Cotter From the Departments of Small Animal Surgery (Spodnick and Berg), and Medicine (Cotter), School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, 200 Westboro Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536, and the Department of Pathology, Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, 350 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 01230 (Moore).

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Summary

Medical records of 21 cats with spinal lymphoma were reviewed. All cats were evaluated for neurologic deficits, although 85% of cats necropsied had multicentric disease. Eighty-one percent of cats had hind limb paresis. Results of FeLV tests were positive in 84.2% (16/19) of the cats, and 68.7% (11/16) of the cats had leukemic bone marrow. Spinal lymphoma was confirmed by necropsy in 13 cats, by examination of a biopsy specimen in 1 cat, and by examination of cells aspirated from an epidural lesion in 2 cats. In the remaining 5 cats, a presumptive diagnosis was made on the basis of neurologic examination findings, positive FeLV test results, and leukemic bone marrow.

Nine cats were treated with chemotherapy alone. The complete remission rate was 50% in 6 cats given cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone. The median duration of complete remission was 14 weeks. Complete remissions were not observed in 3 cats given only corticosteroids. A single cat treated by laminectomy and postoperative chemotherapy had a prolonged remission (62 weeks).

At necropsy, lymphoma of the cns was limited to the vertebral canal in 10 of 13 cats; 2 cats had malignant tissue in the brain and vertebral canal, and in the remaining cat, the tumor extended into the brachial plexus. Most tumors extended over multiple vertebral bodies, and 4 cats had more than 1 level of spinal cord involvement. The lymphoma was high-grade lymphoblastic or immunoblastic type in all cats.

Summary

Medical records of 21 cats with spinal lymphoma were reviewed. All cats were evaluated for neurologic deficits, although 85% of cats necropsied had multicentric disease. Eighty-one percent of cats had hind limb paresis. Results of FeLV tests were positive in 84.2% (16/19) of the cats, and 68.7% (11/16) of the cats had leukemic bone marrow. Spinal lymphoma was confirmed by necropsy in 13 cats, by examination of a biopsy specimen in 1 cat, and by examination of cells aspirated from an epidural lesion in 2 cats. In the remaining 5 cats, a presumptive diagnosis was made on the basis of neurologic examination findings, positive FeLV test results, and leukemic bone marrow.

Nine cats were treated with chemotherapy alone. The complete remission rate was 50% in 6 cats given cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone. The median duration of complete remission was 14 weeks. Complete remissions were not observed in 3 cats given only corticosteroids. A single cat treated by laminectomy and postoperative chemotherapy had a prolonged remission (62 weeks).

At necropsy, lymphoma of the cns was limited to the vertebral canal in 10 of 13 cats; 2 cats had malignant tissue in the brain and vertebral canal, and in the remaining cat, the tumor extended into the brachial plexus. Most tumors extended over multiple vertebral bodies, and 4 cats had more than 1 level of spinal cord involvement. The lymphoma was high-grade lymphoblastic or immunoblastic type in all cats.

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