Tarring the ears of rabbits of one sort with a single kind of tar evoked epidermal tumors of a few sharply defined types, namely ordinary papillomas, carcinoids, carcinomas, and "frill horns." These last, relatively infrequent, are now recognized for the first time. The carcinoids have proved to be the expression of a spurious malignancy of papillomas, resulting from intercurrent influences, and they were wholly dependent upon these for their threatening aspect and behavior. Chief amongst such influences was continued tarring. It had the effect of establishing the papillomas, stimulated their proliferation, complicated their morphology, and rendered some of them disorderly, aggressive, and anaplastic. It brought all of the tissues of the ears into an excitable state, and often this state endured long after the skin had apparently returned to normal.
The characters of the papilloma-carcinoids and of the frill horns were so different and distinctive as to imply the action of differing, specific causes.
The papillomas were very like those induced with the Shope virus, and hence a point-to-point comparison was made of their manifestations, including the derivation of carcinomas from them. This comparison demonstrated that the unknown cause of the tar papillomas provoked neoplastic phenomena which were identical in all essential respects with those due to the virus.
To suppose, for experimental purposes, that the papillomas which tarring elicits are caused by a virus rendered pathogenic by this procedure, is to demand least of the unknown. Yet it does not follow that they must be due to a virus.