Estimated cancer risk of dioxins to humans using a bioassay and physiologically based pharmacokinetic model

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The health risk of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds to humans was analyzed quantitatively using experimental data and mathematical models. To quantify the toxicity of a mixture of three dioxin congeners, we calculated the new relative potencies (REPs) for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), 1,2,3,7,8-pentachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (PeCDD), and 2,3,4,7,8- pentachlorodibenzofuran (PeCDF), focusing on their tumor promotion activity. We applied a liver foci formation assay to female SD rats after repeated oral administration of dioxins. The REP of dioxin for a rat was determined using dioxin concentration and the number of the foci in rat liver. A physiologically based pharmacokinetic model (PBPK model) was used for interspecies extrapolation targeting on dioxin concentration in liver. Toxic dose for human was determined by back-estimation with a human PBPK model, assuming that the same concentration in the target tissue may cause the same level of effect in rats and humans, and the REP for human was determined by the toxic dose obtained. The calculated REPs for TCDD, PeCDD, and PeCDF were 1.0, 0.34, and 0.05 for rats, respectively, and the REPs for humans were almost the same as those for rats. These values were different from the toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) presented previously (Van den Berg, M., Birnbaum, L., Bosveld, A.T.C., Brunstrom, B., Cook, P., Feeley, M., Giesy, J.P., Hanberg, A., Hasegawa, R., Kennedy, S.W., Kubiak, T., Larsen, J.C., Rolaf van Leeuwen, F.X., Liem, A.K.D., Nolt, C., Peterson, R.E., Poellinger. L., Safe, S., Schrenk, D., Tillitt, D, Tysklind, M., Younes, M., Waern, F., Zacharewski, T., 1998. Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs for humans and wildlife. Environ. Health Perspect. 106, 775-792). The relative risk of excess liver cancer for Japanese people in general was 1.7-6.5 × 10−7 by TCDD only, and 2.9-11 × 10−7 by the three dioxins at the present level of contamination.

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