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Human tumor viruses cause various human cancers that account for at least 15% of the global cancer burden. Among the currently identified human tumor viruses, two are small DNA tumor viruses: human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). The study of small DNA tumor viruses (adenoviruses, polyomaviruses, and papillomaviruses) has facilitated several significant biological discoveries and established some of the first animal models of virus-associated cancers. The development and use of preclinical in vivo models to study HPVs and MCPyV and their role in human cancer is the focus of this review. Important considerations in the design of animal models of small DNA tumor virus infection and disease, including host range, cell tropism, choice of virus isolates, and the ability to recapitulate human disease, are presented. The types of infection-based and transgenic model strategies that are used to study HPVs and MCPyV, including their strengths and limitations, are also discussed. An overview of the current models that exist to study HPV and MCPyV infection and neoplastic disease are highlighted. These comparative models provide valuable platforms to study various aspects of virus-associated human disease and will continue to expand knowledge of human tumor viruses and their relationship with their hosts. Copyright © 2022 The Author. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Megan E Spurgeon. Small DNA tumor viruses and human cancer: Preclinical models of virus infection and disease. Tumour virus research. 2022 Dec;14:200239

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PMID: 35636683

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