Estimating the carcinogenic potency of chemicals from the in vivo micronucleus test

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In this study, we investigated the applicability of using in vivo mouse micronucleus (MN) data to derive cancer potency information. We also present a new statistical methodology for correlating estimated potencies between in vivo MN tests and cancer studies, which could similarly be used for other systems (e.g. in vitro vs. in vivo genotoxicity tests). The dose–response modelling program PROAST was used to calculate benchmark doses (BMDs) for estimating the genotoxic and carcinogenic potency for 48 compounds in mice; most of the data were retrieved from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) database, while some additional data were retrieved from the Carcinogenic Potency Database and published studies. BMD05s (doses with 5% increase in MN frequency) were derived from MN data, and BMD10s (doses with 10% extra cancer risk) were derived from carcinogenicity data, along with their respective lower (BMDL) and upper (BMDU) confidence bounds. A clear correlation between the in vivo MN BMD05s and the cancer BMD10s was observed when the lowest BMD05 from the in vivo MN was plotted against the lowest BMD10 from the carcinogenicity data for each individual compound. By making a further selection of BMDs related to more or less equally severe cancer lesions, the correlation was considerably improved. Getting a general scientific consensus on how we can quantitatively compare different tumour lesion types and investigating the impact of MN study duration are needed to refine this correlation analysis. Nevertheless, our results suggest that a BMD derived from genotoxicity data might provide a prediction of the tumour potency (BMD10) with an uncertainty range spanning roughly a factor of 100.

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