Papillomaviruses (PVs) cause around 5% of all human cancers, including most cervical cancers and around a quarter of all oral cancers. Additionally, some studies have suggested that PVs could cause a proportion of human lung, breast, and bladder cancers. As PVs have been associated with skin cancer in cats and, more rarely, dogs, it was hypothesized that these viruses could also contribute to epithelial cancers of the lung, mammary gland, and bladder of dogs and cats. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples of 47 canine and 25 feline cancers were examined histologically for evidence of PV infection. Additionally, three sets of consensus PCR primers were used to amplify PV DNA from the samples. No histological evidence of PV infection was visible in any of the cancers. DNA from a bovine PV type was amplified from one sample, while two different samples were found to contain human PV DNA. However, these were considered to be contaminants, and no canine or feline PV types were amplified from any of the cancers. These results suggest that PVs do not frequently infect the lung, mammary gland, or bladder of dogs and cats and therefore are unlikely to be significant factors in the development of cancers in these tissues.
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