Editorial Article

Papillomavirus Induced Tumors in Animals

Dr. Giuseppe Borzacchiello
Department of Veterinary medicine and Animal productions, University of Naples Federico II – Naples - Italy
*Corresponding author:

Dr. Giuseppe Borzacchiello, Department of Veterinary medicine and Animal productions, University of Naples Federico II – Naples - Italy, Email: borzacch@unina.it


Cancer, Papillomavirus, Papillomavirus induced tumors

Cancer is a multifactorial disease involving different risk factors. Among these we recognize: tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, obesity, chronic inflammation, physical activity, infectious agents etc. In veterinary oncology the field is still open and most of the risk factors for animal cancer development are unknown so far. Breed predisposition is one of the most considered risk factor and it is currently known that some breeds appear to be at increased risk of developing some cancer types, suggesting genetics predisposition. This is the case of histiocytic sarcoma which mainly affect some dog breeds, e.g. Bernese mountain dog, Flat coated retrievers.

Nevertheless, when we consider cancer in animals we deal with different infectious agents and among these papillomaviruses come immediately to mind. These are non enveloped DNA viruses that have been recognized as tumorigenic agents to humans and numerous animal species since 1930’s (1).

Most of our understanding about papillomavirus biology has been derived by studying animal models: Cottontail rabbit papillomavirus, Bovine papillomavirus and Canine oral papillomavirus. They have all contributed to elucidation of papillomavirus pathogenesis. Moreover, the natural history of papillomavirus infection in animals has paved the way to comparable human discoveries and to the formulation of an anti-HPV prophylactic vaccine.

Many new facets of papillomavirus biology and pathology are still to be discovered and animal models are still of interest, not only in veterinary oncology but also for comparable human studies (2).

Recent discoveries about Bovine papillomaviruses point out that these viruses may jump more than one specie, that the virus is not strictly epitheliotropic and that there is a very close association with inflammation. All these recent observations indicate that research on naturally occurring animal models of papillomavirus induced tumors is still needed to gain new insights into the biology and pathology of these “old” tumorigenic viruses.
(1): IARC.IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, vol. 90: human papillomaviruses. Lyon: WHO/IARC, 2007.

(2) G. Borzacchiello, F. Roperto, L. Nasir, M.S. Campo: Human papillomavirus research: Do we still need animal models? The International Journal of Cancer. (2009) 125,739-740.

Published: 01 April 2016


© 2016 Borzacchiello.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.