A game-changing treatment for canine mast cell tumors

Kansas City

Sue Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology) explains how tigilanol tiglate injection (Stelfonta, Virbac) has changed her approach to mast cell tumors

Sponsored by Virbac

In a recent talk at Fetch in Kansas City, Sue Ettinger, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)—also known as Dr. Sue Cancer Vet— discussed several recent advancements in the field of veterinary oncology diagnostics and treatments. Among these innovations, she highlighted a new injectable therapy designed for mast cell tumors diagnosed before they have the chance to metastasize. This FDA-approved treatment, tigilanol tiglate injection (marketed as Stelfonta by Virbac), is a prescription intratumoral injection. It is specifically tailored to address nonmetastatic cutaneous mast cell tumors and nonmetastatic subcutaneous mast cell tumors situated distal to the elbow or hock, provided they are 10 cm3 or smaller in size.1

In a randomized controlled clinical trial, it was found that a single injection led to complete tumor resolution in 75% of the treated dogs within 28 days. When accounting for dogs who required retreatment after 28 days due to an incomplete response, a noteworthy 87% of the dogs achieved complete tumor resolution. Ultimately, 96% of the dogs remained free of the disease at the 12-week mark following the initial injection, and within 3 months, complete wound healing was observed in 98.2% of cases.2

In an interview with dvm360®, Ettinger expressed her enthusiasm for Stelfonta, saying, “Stelfonta days are my favorite days.” In her talk, she walked attendees through the process of using Stelfonta, from prepping clients to managing cases post-treatment. She also provided resources to available that make the process easier for both veterinarians and clients.

Ettinger says one of the most impressive aspects of Stelfonta is its efficacy: “I’m so impressed with the healing,” Ettinger said. She showed a range of cases during her talk, from simple ones that would be good starter cases for veterinarians new to Stelfonta, to more dramatic ones that require a little more experience. Ettinger says she has become something of a magnet for Stelfonta cases because of her extensive experience with the treatment. “I’ve treated over 60 mast cell tumors with Stelfonta in the 2 and a half years that it’s been available,” she said.

Ettinger said that following her success in treating patients with Stelfonta, it represents a significant advancement in the treatment of mast cell tumors in dogs.


  1. Ettinger S. STELFONTA For MCT in 2023: How to Get Started and What We Have Learned So Far. Presented at Fetch dvm360® Conference; Kansas City, Missouri. August 25-27, 2023.
  2. Eisenhauer EA, Therasse P, Bogaerts J, et al. New response evaluation criteria in solid tumours: revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1). Eur J Cancer. 2009;45(2):228-247. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2008.10.026
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