Do papillomaviruses cause feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma?



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PICO question

In cats infected with papillomavirus, is the risk of developing feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma greater than cats that are not infected with papillomavirus?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Eleven papers were critically reviewed, nine were case-control studies and two were experimental in vitro studies

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

Infection of feline epithelial skin cells with Felis catus papillomavirus type 2 (FcaPV-2) is a risk factor for the development of feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. The pathogenesis of FcaPV-2 infection and neoplastic transformation into malignant cells shares similar pathways to the human papillomavirus (HPV) model of pathogenesis and carcinogenesis with some differences


In conclusion, there is moderate strength of evidence in the literature to support a role of FcaPV-2 in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas in cats. Therefore, prevention of infection with FcaPV-2 should prevent some cancers


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed

Author Biographies

Alexander Teh, University of Sydney, Sydney School of Veterinary Science

DVM Student, University of Sydney. 

Mark Krockenberger, University of Sydney, Sydney School of Veterinary Science

  • Professor of Veterinary Pathology
  • Registered Specialist in Veterinary Anatomical Pathology
  • Associate Head of Veterinary Clinical Sciences 


Altamura, G., Corteggio, A. & Borzacchiello, G. (2016a). Felis catus papillomavirus type 2 E6 oncogene enhances mitogen-activated protein kinases and Akt activation but not EGFR expression in an in vitro feline model of viral pathogenesis. Veterinary Microbiology. 195, 96– DOI:

Altamura, G., Corteggio, A., Pacini, L., Conte, A., Pierantoni, G. M., Tommasino, M., Accardi, R. & Borzacchiello, G. (2016b). Transforming properties of Felis catus papillomavirus type 2 E6 and E7 putative oncogenes in vitro and their transcriptional activity in feline squamous cell carcinoma in vivo. 496, 1–8. DOI:

Boscolo-Rizzo, P., Pawlita, M. & Holzinger, D. (2015). From HPV-positive towards HPV-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas. Cancer Treatment Reviews. 42, 24– DOI:

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Geisseler, M., Lange, C. E., Favrot, C., Fischer, N., Ackermann, M. & Tobler, K. (2016). Geno- and seroprevalence of Felis domesticus Papillomavirus type 2 (FdPV2) in dermatologically healthy cats. BMC Veterinary Research. 12, DOI:

Hoggard, N., Munday, J. S. & Luff, J. (2018). Localization of Felis catus Papillomavirus Type 2 E6 and E7 RNA in Feline Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Veterinary Pathology. 55(3), 409– DOI:

Isaacson Wechsler, E., Wang, Q., Roberts, I., Pagliarulo, E., Jackson, D., Untersperger, C., Coleman, N., Griffin, H. & Doorbar, J. (2012). Reconstruction of human papillomavirus type 16-mediated early-stage neoplasia implicates E6/E7 deregulation and the loss of contact inhibition in neoplastic progression. Journal of Virology. 86, 6358– DOI:

Little, S. E., Vuononvirta, R., Reis-Filho, J. S., Natrajan, R., Iravani, M., Fenwick, K., Mackay, A., Ashworth, A., Pritchard-Jones, K. & Jones, C. (2006). Array CGH using whole genome amplification of fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor DNA. 87(2), 298–306. DOI:

Miller, M. A., Nelson, S. L., Turk, J. R., Pace, L. W., Brown, T. P., Shaw, D. P., Fischer, J. R. & Gosser, H. S. (1991). Cutaneous Neoplasia in 340 Cats. Veterinary Pathology. 28(5), 389– DOI:

Munday, J. S. & Aberdein, D. (2012). Loss of retinoblastoma protein, but not p53, is associated with the presence of papillomaviral DNA in feline viral plaques, Bowenoid in situ carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas. Veterinary Pathology. 49(3), 538– DOI:

Munday, J. S., French, A. F., Peters-Kennedy, J., Orbell, G. M. & Gwynne, K. (2011a). Increased p16CDKN2A protein within feline cutaneous viral plaques, bowenoid in situ carcinomas, and a subset of invasive squamous cell carcinomas. Veterinary Pathology. 48(2), 460– DOI:

Munday, J. S., Gibson, I. & French, A. F. (2011b). Papillomaviral DNA and increased p16CDKN2A protein are frequently present within feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas in ultraviolet-protected skin. Veterinary Dermatology. 22(4), 360– DOI:

Munday, J. S., Howe, L., French, A., Squires, R. A. & Sugiarto, H. (2009). Detection of papillomaviral DNA sequences in a feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. Research in Veterinary Science. 86(2), 359– DOI:

Munday, J. S. & Kiupel, M. (2010). Papillomavirus-Associated Cutaneous Neoplasia in Mammals. Veterinary Pathology. 47(2), 254– DOI:

Munday, J. S., Kiupel, M., French, A. F. & Howe, L. (2008). Amplification of papillomaviral DNA sequences from a high proportion of feline cutaneous in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinomas using a nested polymerase chain reaction. Veterinary Dermatology. 19(5), 259– DOI:

Munday, J. S., Kiupel, M., French, A. F., Howe, L. & Squires, R. A. (2007). Detection of papillomaviral sequences in feline Bowenoid in situ carcinoma using consensus primers. Veterinary Dermatology. 18(4), 241– DOI:

Munday, J. S., Sharp, C. R. & Beatty, J. A. (2019). Novel viruses: Update on the significance of papillomavirus infections in cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 21(5), 409– DOI:

Murphy, S. (2013). Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the Cat: Current understanding and treatment approaches. Journal of Feline Medicine Surgery. 15(5), 401– DOI:

Nespeca, G., Grest, P., Rosenkrantz, W. S., Ackermann, M. & Favrot, C. (2006). Detection of novel papillomaviruslike sequences in paraffin-embedded specimens of invasive and in situ squamous cell carcinomas from cats. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 67(12), 2036– DOI:

O'Neill, S. H., Newkirk, K. M., Anis, E. A., Brahmbhatt, R., Frank, L. A. & Kania, S. A. (2011). Detection of human papillomavirus DNA in feline premalignant and invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Veterinary Dermatology. 22(1), 68– DOI:

Oh, Y.-I., Cheon, D.-S., Lee, J.-K., Choi, M.-H., Hwang, S.-Y., Kim, H.-W., Kang, B.-J. & Youn, H.-Y. (2018). Detection of Felis catus papillomavirus type 2 within multicentric basosquamous carcinoma in a domestic cat. The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. 80, 1445– DOI:

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Thomson, N. A., Howe, L., Weidgraaf, K., Thomas, D. G., Young, V., Ward, V. K. & Munday, J. S. (2019). Felis catus papillomavirus type 2 virus-like particle vaccine is safe and immunogenic but does not reduce FcaPV-2 viral loads in adult cats. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology. 213, DOI:

Thomson, N. A., Munday, J. S. & Dittmer, K. E. (2016). Frequent detection of transcriptionally active Felis catus papillomavirus 2 in feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. Journal of General Virology. 97(5), 1189– DOI:

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Vol. 6 No. 3 (2021): The third issue of 2021

Section: Knowledge Summaries

Categories :  Small Animal  /  Dogs  /  Cats  /  Rabbits  /  Production Animal  /  Cattle  /  Sheep  /  Pig  /  Equine  /  Exotics  /