Ayako Sakai, Yumiko Iwase, Yoshiyuki Nakamura, Kiyoshi Sasaki, Noriho Tanaka and Makoto Umeda
Extensive studies on the safety evaluation of chemicals have indicated that a considerable number of non-genotoxic chemicals are carcinogenic. Tumour promoters are likely to be among these nongenotoxic carcinogens, and their detection is considered to be an important approach to the prevention of cancer. In this review, the results are summarised for in vitro transformation assays involving established cell lines, and for an assay for inhibition of gap junctional intercellular communication for the detection of tumour promoters, which involves V79 cells. Although the number of chemicals examined is still too small to permit a full evaluation of the correlation between in vitro cell transformation and in vivo carcinogenicity, it is clear that the sensitivity of the focus formation assay is very high. In the case of the metabolic cooperation assay, the sensitivity appears to be rather poor, but the assay can be considered to be useful because of its simple procedure and its considerable database. These in vitro assays for tumour promoters are recommended as useful tools for the detection of non-genotoxic carcinogens.
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