1887

Abstract

papillomavirus 2 (FcaPV-2) causes premalignant skin lesions in cats and has also been found in a proportion of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) – a common and potentially fatal cancer of cats. Whilst this could suggest a role of the virus in cancer development, FcaPV-2 has also been detected in skin swabs of normal cats, making it difficult to discern whether the papillomavirus is causing the cancer or merely an ‘innocent bystander’. To distinguish between these two possibilities, real-time PCR was used to determine the viral copy number and the transcriptional activity of FcaPV-2 infections present in 70 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded skin lesions including 10 papillomavirus-induced premalignant lesions and 60 SCCs. FcaPV-2 gene expression was found in 21 of 60 (35 %) SCCs, all 10 premalignant lesions and none of 10 normal skin samples. The results showed two distinct subsets of SCCs. The majority of the SCCs had low copy numbers of FcaPV-2 DNA (mean of 17 copies per copy of reference gene DNA) and no FcaPV-2 gene expression, suggesting the virus was an incidental finding. In contrast, 20 SCCs had detectable FcaPV-2 E6/E7 gene expression and very high copy numbers of FcaPV-2 DNA, with a mean of 32 930 copies per copy of reference gene DNA. The relative quantity of E6/E7 gene expression and the viral copy number in this group were similar to those found in the papillomavirus-induced premalignant lesions, suggesting that FcaPV-2 may play a role in the development of a subset of feline cutaneous SCCs.

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2016-05-01
2019-10-22
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