Equine penile squamous cell carcinoma (EpSCC) is a relatively common cutaneous neoplasm with a poor prognosis. In this study, we aimed to determine the protein expression and colocalisation of FRA1, c-Myc, Cyclin D1, and MMP7 in normal (NT), tumour (T), hyperplastic epidermis and/or squamous papilloma (Hyp/Pap), poorly-differentiated (PDSCC), or well-differentiated (WDSCC) EpSCC using a tissue array approach. Further objectives were to correlate protein expression to (i) levels of inflammation, using a convolutional neural network (ii) equine papillomavirus 2 (EcPV2) infection, detected using PCR amplification. We found an increase in expression of FRA1 in EpSCC compared to NT samples. c-Myc expression was higher in Hyp/Pap and WDSCC but not PDSCC whereas MMP7 was reduced in WDSCC compared with NT. There was a significant increase in the global intersection coefficient (GIC) of FRA1 with MMP7, c-Myc, and Cyclin D1 in EpSCC. Conversely, GIC for MMP7 with c-Myc was reduced in EpSCC tissue. Inflammation was positively associated with EcPV2 infection in both NT and EpSCC but not Hyp/Pap. Changes in protein expression could be correlated with EcPV2 for Cyclin D1 and c-Myc. Our results evaluate novel biomarkers of EpSCC and a putative correlation between the expression of biomarkers, EcPV2 infection and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7863
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date12 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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