Skin is the largest organ of the mammalian body, with significant functions in several biological processes, namely environmental barrier, tissue regeneration, hair cycling and wound repair.
Skin is affected by several diseases, including cancer. Skin tumors are mainly of three types: malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has increasing over the past decades, with 2 to 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,00 melanoma skin cancer occurring annually worldwide.
Animal models are very useful to understand and follow several diseases, including skin cancer. In this way, in vivo studies are essential to improve and discover new strategies to prevent and treat this type of cancer.
K14-HPV16 transgenic mice (HPV+) have inserted in their genome the early genomic region of HPV16. In these animals, the expression of the HPV16 early region is under the control of the cytokeratin-14 gene promoter, therefore targeting the basal cells of keratinized epithelia. These transgenic mice develop all the typical stages of HPV-induced multistep carcinogenesis in keratinized epithelia, as observed in humans. These K14-HPV16 transgenic mice present HPV16-induced lesions in different locations besides the uterine cervix, and advanced lesions were recently identified in head-and-neck sites.
This presentation intends to describe the rodent models available for skin cancer study, particularly the model of K14-HPV16 transgenic mice, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages, as well as their potential in the evaluation of several drugs and natural compounds in skin cancer.