Xenogeneic murine tyrosinase DNA vaccine for malignant melanoma of the digit of dogs

J Vet Intern Med. 2011 Jan-Feb;25(1):94-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2010.0627.x. Epub 2010 Dec 8.


Background: Malignant melanoma of dogs is a highly aggressive neoplasm and is the 2nd most common digit tumor. Metastatic disease is a common sequela for which few effective treatment options exist. Studies show that xenogeneic tyrosinase DNA vaccination yields immune responses and prolongation of survival in dogs with oral malignant melanoma.

Objectives/hypothesis: Describe clinical findings and tumor characteristics of a cohort of dogs with digit malignant melanoma, and evaluate the prognostic utility of a proposed staging system. Determine if a novel xenogeneic DNA vaccine is safe and potentially effective for treatment of dogs with digit melanoma.

Animals: Fifty-eight dogs with digit malignant melanoma treated at the Animal Medical Center between 2004 and 2007.

Methods: Retrospective, medical records review of dogs with digit melanoma treated with xenogeneic DNA vaccine.

Results: Overall median survival time (MST) for dogs treated with loco-regional control and xenogeneic DNA vaccine was 476 days with a 1-year survival rate of 63%. MST for dogs presenting with metastasis was 105 days versus 533 days for dogs presenting without metastasis (P < .0001). Forty-eight percent of the dogs in the latter group were alive at 2 and 3 years. A proposed staging system proved prognostic with stages I-IV dogs surviving >952, >1,093, 321, and 76 days, respectively.

Conclusions and clinical importance: The xenogeneic murine tyrosinase DNA vaccine was safe and appears effective when used in conjunction with local and regional disease control. The proposed staging system was prognostic in this study and future studies might benefit from utilizing this staging system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines / immunology
  • Cancer Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dog Diseases / immunology
  • Dog Diseases / therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Melanoma / veterinary*
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / genetics*
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase / immunology
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Neoplasm Staging / veterinary
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology
  • Vaccines, DNA / therapeutic use*


  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Monophenol Monooxygenase