and early 1980s for the study of ani-mal models and obtained new dataon tumor response, tumor hypoxia,fractionation techniques, and normaltissue toxicity in companion animals.The field of veterinary medical on-cology struggled in the 1970s becauseof the lack of veterinary centers fo-cusing on medical oncology. Initially,the major challenges were to identify available chemotherapeutic agents,determine dose levels that were welltolerated, establish frequencies of ad-ministration, determine appropriatemonitoring for drug toxicity, andconduct clinical trials to determineefficacy. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a number of available chemo-therapeutic agents (e.g.,
-asparagi-nase, doxorubicin, vincristine, cyclo-phosphamide, melphalan) tested inprospective clinical trials were shownto have antitumor activity in animalsfor lymphoma, chronic leukemias, mye-loma,and a few solid tumor types.Following the identification of thebest agents, such as those listed above,the next challenge was to combinethese drugs into combination chemo-therapyprotocols. In the mid-1980s,combination chemotherapy protocolshad become the standard of care formedical oncology in human and vet-erinarymedicine. Since the late 1980sand early 1990s, combined-modality therapy, which includes surgery, ra-diation, and chemotherapy, has be-come more common in the generalpractice of veterinary oncology.The use of immunotherapy andbiologic therapy has its roots in themid-1970s; however, the results of anumber of clinical trials yielded only minimal benefit in treating a few se-lected solid tumors, such as osteosar-coma, melanoma, and lymphoma. Noneof the targets of current anticancerdrugs are cancer-specific; DNA andRNA synthesis, microtubule assem-bly and function, and topoisomeras-es arecommon targets for anticancerdrugs but are also required by nor-mal cells, especially those that growrapidly (e.g., in bone marrow andthe gastrointestinal tract). However,as our understanding of the molecu-lar biology of cancer and the role of the tumor microenvironment or tu-mor–host interaction increases, en-thusiasm for biologic therapy, genetherapy, organ-specific targeting, andimmunotherapy will intensify.Someof the most exciting advances in can-cer therapy, such as antiangiogenicagents, tumor vaccines, growth factorreceptor inhibitors, and liposome-en-capsulated chemotherapy,are basedon a better understanding of the bi-ology of cancer and the selection of agents with defined mechanisms of action.
The advancement of veterinary oncology is also based on organizedveterinary medicine. The most no-table impact on clinical veterinary oncology was the establishment of the Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS)in 1974. The VCS grew from a smallgroup of approximately 20 to morethan 600 members today. This orga-nization has played a major role inthe dissemination of new knowledgethrough its annual scientific meet-ings and the publication of the
Vet- erinary Cancer Society Newsletter
.The VCS has also helped to devel-op veterinary oncology into a recog-nized specialty within the AmericanCollege of Veterinary Internal Medi-cine(ACVIM). In 1987, the ACVIM
October 199920TH ANNIVERSARYSmall Animal/Exotics1985
The American Veterinary Medical Association publishes a brochure entitled
Warning Signs for Cancerin Pets
The Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group is founded
The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine recognizes oncology as a specialty,and the certification process is established
established oncology as a subspecial-ty within its organization. Today,there are more than 90 board-certi-fied ACVIM diplomates in oncolo-gy. In 1994, the American College of Veterinary Radiology established ra-diation oncology as a separate board,and there are currently 30 board-cer-tified veterinary radiation oncolo-gists. An additional significant contribu-tion to veterinary oncology was theestablishment of the Veterinary Co-operative Oncology Group (VCOG)in 1985. This group was establishedto enhance interactive collaborationand multicenter trials to broaden thegeneration of clinical data and thera-peutic studies. The VCOG has con-ducted a large number of retrospec-tive and prospective clinical studies,most of which have been publishedin the veterinary literature.
The American College of Radiology establishes the subspecialty of radiation oncology
The VCS and the ESVO hold their first combined international meeting
The European Society of Veterinary Oncology (ESVO) holds its first annual congress