Dietary controlled carcinogenicity study of chloral hydrate in male B6C3F1 mice

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Chloral hydrate, which is used as a sedative in pediatric medicine and is a by-product of water chlorination, is hepatocarcinogenic in B6C3F1 mice, a strain that can exhibit high rates of background liver tumor incidence, which are associated with increased body weight. In this study, dietary control was used to manipulate body growth in male B6C3F1 mice in a 2-year bioassay of chloral hydrate. Male B6C3F1 mice were treated with water or 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg chloral hydrate by gavage. The study compared ad libitum-fed mice with dietary controlled mice. The latter received variably restricted feed allocations to maintain their body weights on a predetermined “idealized” weight curve predictive of a terminal background liver tumor incidence of 15–20%. These mice exhibited less individual body weight variation than did their ad libitum-fed counterparts. This was associated with a decreased variation in liver to body weight ratios, which allowed the demonstration of a statistically significant dose response to chloral hydrate in the dietary controlled, but not the ad libitum-fed, test groups. Chloral hydrate increased terminally adjusted liver tumor incidence in both dietary controlled (23.4, 23.9, 29.7, and 38.6% for the four dose groups, respectively) and ad libitum-fed mice (33.4, 52.6, 50.6, and 46.2%), but a statistically significant dose response was observed only in the dietary controlled mice. This dose response positively correlated with markers of peroxisomal proliferation in the dietary controlled mice only. The study suggests that dietary control not only improves terminal survival and decreases interassay variation, but also can increase assay sensitivity by decreasing intra-assay variation.

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