carcinogenicity

/Tag:carcinogenicity

Transgenic Mouse Bioassays for Carcinogenicity Testing: A Step in the Right Direction?

Anne-Marie van Zeller and Robert D. Combes

The relevance of the rodent bioassay for assessing human risk to carcinogens has long been questioned. This has prompted several regulatory authorities and the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) to discuss the need for studies in two rodent species. Currently, six alternative tests are being evaluated in an interlaboratory collaborative study being organised by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). These tests include four transgenic carcinogenicity assays in mice (the c-Ha-ras, Tg.AC, p53+/– and XPA systems). These assays are discussed in this review, and it is concluded that, to date, the data suggest that none of these assays is appropriate for inclusion in a carcinogenicity testing strategy. It is suggested that more emphasis should be placed on developing replacement alternative assays which are capable of identifying and characterising carcinogens of human relevance, rather than focusing on tests which are likely to merely duplicate the results of the rodent chronic bioassay. In this respect, the outcome of studies using the Syrian Hamster Embryo cell transformation assay, also being evaluated as part of the ILSI programme, will be of great interest. Ultimately, it is expected that cell transformation systems based on human cells will provide useful data for predicting human hazard from carcinogen exposures, and efforts to develop such systems should be encouraged.
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Animal Carcinogenicity Studies: 1. Poor Human Predictivity

Andrew Knight, Jarrod Bailey and Jonathan Balcombe

The regulation of human exposure to potentially carcinogenic chemicals constitutes society’s most important use of animal carcinogenicity data. Environmental contaminants of greatest concern within the USA are listed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) chemicals database. However, of the 160 IRIS chemicals lacking even limited human exposure data but possessing animal data that had received a human carcinogenicity assessment by 1 January 2004, we found that in most cases (58.1%; 93/160), the EPA considered animal carcinogenicity data inadequate to support a classification of probable human carcinogen or non-carcinogen. For the 128 chemicals with human or animal data also assessed by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), human carcinogenicity classifications were compatible with EPA classifications only for those 17 having at least limited human data (p = 0.5896). For those 111 primarily reliant on animal data, the EPA was much more likely than the IARC to assign carcinogenicity classifications indicative of greater human risk (p < 0.0001). The IARC is a leading international authority on carcinogenicity assessments, and its significantly different human carcinogenicity classifications of identical chemicals indicate that: 1) in the absence of significant human data, the EPA is over-reliant on animal carcinogenicity data; 2) as a result, the EPA tends to over-predict carcinogenic risk; and 3) the true predictivity for human carcinogenicity of animal data is even poorer than is indicated by EPA figures alone. The EPA policy of erroneously assuming that tumours in animals are indicative of human carcinogenicity is implicated as a primary cause of these errors.
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Animal Carcinogenicity Studies: 2. Obstacles to Extrapolation of Data to Humans

Andrew Knight, Jarrod Bailey and Jonathan Balcombe

Due to limited human exposure data, risk classification and the consequent regulation of exposure to potential carcinogens has conventionally relied mainly upon animal tests. However, several investigations have revealed animal carcinogenicity data to be lacking in human predictivity. To investigate the reasons for this, we surveyed 160 chemicals possessing animal but not human exposure data within the US Environmental Protection Agency chemicals database, but which had received human carcinogenicity assessments by 1 January 2004. We discovered the use of a wide variety of species, with rodents predominating, and of a wide variety of routes of administration, and that there were effects on a particularly wide variety of organ systems. The likely causes of the poor human predictivity of rodent carcinogenicity bioassays include: 1) the profound discordance of bioassay results between rodent species, strains and genders, and further, between rodents and human beings; 2) the variable, yet substantial, stresses caused by handling and restraint, and the stressful routes of administration common to carcinogenicity bioassays, and their effects on hormonal regulation, immune status and predisposition to carcinogenesis; 3) differences in rates of absorption and transport mechanisms between test routes of administration and other important human routes of exposure; 4) the considerable variability of organ systems in response to carcinogenic insults, both between and within species; and 5) the predisposition of chronic high dose bioassays toward false positive results, due to the overwhelming of physiological defences, and the unnatural elevation of cell division rates during ad libitum feeding studies. Such factors render profoundly difficult any attempts to accurately extrapolate human carcinogenic hazards from animal data.
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Animal Carcinogenicity Studies: 3. Alternatives to the Bioassay

Andrew Knight, Jarrod Bailey and Jonathan Balcombe

Conventional animal carcinogenicity tests take around three years to design, conduct and interpret. Consequently, only a tiny fraction of the thousands of industrial chemicals currently in use have been tested for carcinogenicity. Despite the costs of hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of skilled personnel hours, as well as millions of animal lives, several investigations have revealed that animal carcinogenicity data lack human specificity (i.e. the ability to identify human non-carcinogens), which severely limits the human predictivity of the bioassay. This is due to the scientific inadequacies of many carcinogenicity bioassays, and numerous serious biological obstacles, which render profoundly difficult any attempts to accurately extrapolate animal data in order to predict carcinogenic hazards to humans. Proposed modifications to the conventional bioassays have included the elimination of mice as a second species, and the use of genetically-altered or neonatal mice, decreased study durations, initiation–promotion models, the greater incorporation of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic assessments, structure-activity relationship (computerised) systems, in vitro assays, cDNA microarrays for detecting changes in gene expression, limited human clinical trials, and epidemiological research. The potential advantages of nonanimal assays when compared to bioassays include the superior human specificity of the results, substantially reduced time-frames, and greatly reduced demands on financial, personnel and animal resources. Inexplicably, however, the regulatory agencies have been frustratingly slow to adopt alternative protocols. In order to decrease the enormous cost of cancer to society, a substantial redirection of resources away from excessively slow and resource-intensive rodent bioassays, into the further development and implementation of non-animal assays, is both strongly justified and urgently required.
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Animal Carcinogenicity Studies: Implications for the REACH System

Andrew Knight, Jarrod Bailey and Jonathan Balcombe

The 2001 European Commission proposal for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) aims to improve public and environmental health by assessing the toxicity of, and restricting exposure to, potentially toxic chemicals. The greatest benefits are expected to accrue from decreased cancer incidences. Hence the accurate identification of chemical carcinogens must be a top priority for the REACH system. Due to a paucity of human clinical data, the identification of potential human carcinogens has conventionally relied on animal tests. However, our survey of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) toxic chemicals database revealed that, for a majority of the chemicals of greatest public health concern (93/160, i.e. 58.1%), the EPA found animal carcinogenicity data to be inadequate to support classifications of probable human carcinogen or non-carcinogen. A wide variety of species were used, with rodents predominating; a wide variety of routes of administration were used; and a particularly wide variety of organ systems were affected. These factors raise serious biological obstacles that render accurate extrapolation to humans profoundly difficult. Furthermore, significantly different International Agency for Research on Cancer assessments of identical chemicals, indicate that the true human predictivity of animal carcinogenicity data is even poorer than is indicated by the EPA figures alone. Consequently, we propose the replacement of animal carcinogenicity bioassays with a tiered combination of non-animal assays, which can be expected to yield a weight-of-evidence characterisation of carcinogenic risk with superior human predictivity. Additional advantages include substantial savings of financial, human and animal resources, and potentially greater insights into mechanisms of carcinogenicity.
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Integrated Decision-tree Testing Strategies for Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity with Respect to the Requirements of the EU REACH Legislation

Robert Combes, Christina Grindon, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John F. Garrod

Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME recently conducted a research project sponsored by Defra, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with the REACH system. This paper focuses on the prospects for using alternative methods (both in vitro and in silico) for mutagenicity (genotoxicity) and carcinogenicity testing — two toxicity endpoints, which, together with reproductive toxicity, are of pivotal importance for the REACH system. The manuscript critically discusses well-established testing approaches, and in particular, the requirement for short-term in vivo tests for confirming positive mutagenicity, and the need for the rodent bioassay for detecting non-genotoxic carcinogens. Recently-proposed testing strategies focusing on non-animal approaches are also considered, and our own testing scheme is presented and supported with background information. This scheme makes maximum use of pre-existing data, computer (in silico) and in vitro methods, with weight-of-evidence assessments at each major stage. The need for the improvement of in vitro methods, to reduce the generation of false-positive results, is also discussed. Lastly, ways in which reduction and refinement measures can be used are also considered, and some recommendations are made for future research to facilitate the implementation of the proposed testing scheme.
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Proposed Integrated Decision-tree Testing Strategies for Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity in Relation to the EU REACH Legislation

Robert Combes, Christina Grindon, Mark T.D. Cronin, David W. Roberts and John Garrod

Liverpool John Moores University and FRAME recently conducted a research project sponsored by Defra, on the status of alternatives to animal testing with regard to the European Union REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) system for the safety testing and risk assessment of chemicals. The project covered all the main toxicity endpoints associated with the REACH system. This paper focuses on the prospects for using alternative methods (both in vitro and in silico) for mutagenicity (genotoxicity) and carcinogenicity testing — two toxicity endpoints, which, together with reproductive toxicity, are of pivotal importance for the REACH system. The manuscript critically discusses well-established testing approaches, and in particular, the requirement for short-term in vivo tests for confirming positive mutagenicity, and the need for the rodent bioassay for detecting non-genotoxic carcinogens. Recently-proposed testing strategies focusing on non-animal approaches are also considered, and our own testing scheme is presented and supported with background information. This scheme makes maximum use of pre-existing data, computer (in silico) and in vitro methods, with weight-of-evidence assessments at each major stage. The need for the improvement of in vitro methods, to reduce the generation of false-positive results, is also discussed. Lastly, ways in which reduction and refinement measures can be used are also considered, and some recommendations are made for future research to facilitate the implementation of the proposed testing scheme.
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The Application of Normal, SV40 T-antigen-immortalised and Tumour-derived Oral Keratinocytes, under Serum-free Conditions, to the Study of the Probability of Cancer Progression as a Result of Environmental Exposure to Chemicals

Rebecca Ceder, Marina Merne, Claudia A. Staab, Jan Anders Nilsson, Jan-Olov Höög, Dirk Dressler, Karin Engelhart and Roland C. Grafström

In vitro models are currently not considered to be suitable replacements for animals in experiments to assess the multiple factors that underlie the development of cancer as a result of environmental exposure to chemicals. An evaluation was conducted on the potential use of normal keratinocytes, the SV40 T-antigen-immortalised keratinocyte cell line, SVpgC2a, and the carcinoma cell line, SqCC/Y1, alone and in combination, and under standardised serum-free culture conditions, to study oral cancer progression. In addition, features considered to be central to cancer development as a result of environmental exposure to chemicals, were analysed. Genomic expression, and enzymatic and functional data from the cell lines reflected many aspects of the transition of normal tissue epithelium, via dysplasia, to full malignancy. The composite cell line model develops aberrances in proliferation, terminal differentiation and apoptosis, in a similar manner to oral cancer progression in vivo. Transcript and protein profiling links aberrations in multiple gene ontologies, molecular networks and tumour biomarker genes (some proposed previously, and some new) in oral carcinoma development. Typical specific changes include the loss of tumour-suppressor p53 function and of sensitivity to retinoids. Environmental agents associated with the aetiology of oral cancer differ in their requirements for metabolic activation, and cause toxic effects to cells in both the normal and the transformed states. The results suggest that the model might be useful for studies on the sensitivity of cells to chemicals at different stages of cancer progression, including many aspects of the integrated roles of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Overall, the properties of the SVpgC2a and SqCC/Y1 cell lines, relative to normal epithelial cells in monolayer or organotypic culture, support their potential applicability to mechanistic studies on cancer risk factors, including, in particular, the definition of critical toxicity effects and dose–effect relationships.
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A FRAME Response to the European Commission Consultation on the Draft Report on Alternative (Non-animal) Methods for Cosmetics Testing: Current Status and Future Prospects — 2010a

Michael Balls and Richard Clothier

This response on behalf of FRAME to the European Commission’s consultation on the five chapters of the Draft Report on Alternative (Non-animal) Methods for Cosmetics Testing: Current Status and Future Prospects — 2010, is via a Comment in ATLA, rather than via the template supplied by the Commission. This is principally so that a number of general points about cosmetic ingredient testing can be made. It is concluded that the five draft chapters do not provide a credible basis for the Commission’s forthcoming report to the European Parliament and the European Council on the five cosmetic ingredient safety issues for which the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetic Directive’s ban on animal testing was postponed until 2013. This is mainly because there is insufficient focus in the draft chapters on the specific nature of cosmetic ingredients, their uses, their local effects and metabolism at their sites of application, and, in particular, on whether their possible absorption into the body would be likely to lead to their accumulation in target sites at levels approaching Thresholds of Toxicological Concern. Meanwhile, there continues to be uncertainty about how the provisions of the Cosmetics Directive should be applied, given the requirements of the REACH system and directives concerned with the safety of other chemicals and products.
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Cell Transformation Assays: Are We Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Robert D. Combes

There has been a current resurgence of interest in the use of cell transformation for predicting carcinogenicity, which is based mainly on rodent carcinogenicity data. In view of this renewed interest, this paper critically reviews the published literature concerning the ability of the available assays to detect IARC Group 1 agents (known human carcinogens) and Group 2A agents (probable human carcinogens). The predictivity of the available assays for human and rodent non-genotoxic carcinogens (NGCs), in comparison with standard and supplementary in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity tests, is also discussed. The principal finding is that a surprising number of human carcinogens have not been tested for cell transformation across the three main assays (SHE, Balb/c 3T3 and C3H10T1/2), confounding comparative assessment of these methods for detecting human carcinogens. This issue is not being addressed in the ongoing validation studies for the first two of these assays, despite the lack of any serious logistical issues associated with the use of most of these chemicals. In addition, there seem to be no plans for using exogenous bio-transformation systems for the metabolic activation of pro-carcinogens, as recommended in an ECVAM workshop held in 1999. To address these important issues, it is strongly recommended that consideration be given to the inclusion of more human carcinogens and an exogenous source of xenobiotic metabolism, such as an S9 fraction, in ongoing and future validation studies. While cell transformation systems detect a high level of NGCs, it is considered premature to rely only on this endpoint for screening for such chemicals, as recently suggested. This is particularly important, in view of the fact that there is still doubt as to the relevance of morphological transformation to tumorigenesis in vivo, and the wide diversity of potential mechanisms by which NGCs are known to act. Recent progress with regard to increasing the objectivity of scoring the transformed phenotype, and prospects for developing human cell-based transformation assays, are reviewed.
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