A Review of the Molecular Mechanisms of Chemically Induced Neoplasia in Rat and Mouse Models in National Toxicology Program Bioassays and Their Relevance to Human Cancer

Cellular and Molecular Pathology Branch, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC 27519, USA.
Toxicologic Pathology (Impact Factor: 1.92). 10/2009; 37(7):835-48. DOI: 10.1177/0192623309351726
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tumor response in the B6C3F1 mouse, F344 rat, and other animal models following exposure to various compounds provides evidence that people exposed to these or similar compounds may be at risk for developing cancer. Although tumors in rodents and humans are often morphologically similar, underlying mechanisms of tumorigenesis are often unknown and may be different between the species. Therefore, the relevance of an animal tumor response to human health would be better determined if the molecular pathogenesis were understood. The underlying molecular mechanisms leading to carcinogenesis are complex and involve multiple genetic and epigenetic events and other factors. To address the molecular pathogenesis of environmental carcinogens, the authors examine rodent tumors (e.g., lung, colon, mammary gland, skin, brain, mesothelioma) for alterations in cancer genes and epigenetic events that are associated with human cancer. National Toxicology Program (NTP) studies have identified several genetic alterations in chemically induced rodent neoplasms that are important in human cancer. Identification of such alterations in rodent models of chemical carcinogenesis caused by exposure to environmental contaminants, occupational chemicals, and other compounds lends further support that they are of potential human health risk. These studies also emphasize the importance of molecular evaluation of chemically induced rodent tumors for providing greater public health significance for NTP evaluated compounds.

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    ABSTRACT: Inhalation of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is associated with increased lung cancer risk among workers in several industries, most notably chromate production workers exposed to high concentrations of Cr(VI) (≥100μg/m(3)), for which clear exposure-response relationships and respiratory irritation and tissue damage have been reported. Data from this industry are used to assess lung cancer risk associated with environmental and current occupational exposures, occurring at concentrations that are significantly lower (approximately a million-fold). There is considerable uncertainty in the low dose extrapolation of historical occupational epidemiology data to assess risk at current exposures because no published or well recognized mode of action (MOA) for Cr(VI)-induced lung tumors exists. We conducted a MOA analysis for Cr(VI)-induced lung cancer evaluating toxicokinetic and toxicological data in humans and rodents and mechanistic data to assess plausibility, dose-response, and temporal concordance for potential MOAs. Toxicokinetic data support that extracellular reduction of Cr(VI), which limits intracellular absorption of Cr(VI) and Cr(VI)-induced toxicity, can be overwhelmed at high exposure levels. In vivo genotoxicity and mutagenicity data are mostly negative and do not support a mutagenic MOA. Further, both chronic bioassays and the epidemiologic literature support that lung cancer occurs at exposures that cause tissue damage. Based on this MOA analysis, the overall weight of evidence supports a MOA involving deposition and accumulation of particulate chromium in the bifurcations of the lung resulting in exceedance of clearance mechanisms and cellular absorption of Cr(VI). Once inside the cell, reduction of Cr(VI) results in oxidative stress and the formation of Cr ligands. Subsequent protein and DNA damage lead to tissue irritation, inflammation, and cytotoxicity. These effects, concomitant with increased cell proliferation, result in a changes to DNA sequences or methylation status that can lead to tumorigenesis. This MOA supports the use of non-linear approaches when extrapolating lung cancer risk occurring at high concentration occupational exposures to environmentally-relevant exposures.
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    ABSTRACT: This article addresses a number of concepts related to the selection and modelling of carcinogenicity data for the calculation of a Margin of Exposure. It follows up on the recommendations put forward by the International Life Sciences Institute - European branch in 2010 on the application of the margin of exposure (MoE) approach to substances in food that are genotoxic and carcinogenic. The aims are to provide practical guidance on the relevance of animal tumour data for human carcinogenic hazard assessment, appropriate selection of tumour data for benchmark dose modelling, and approaches for dealing with the uncertainty associated with the selection of data for modelling and, consequently, the derived point of departure (PoD) used to calculate the MoE. Although the concepts outlined in this article are interrelated, the background expertise needed to address each topic varies. For instance, the expertise needed to make a judgement on biological relevance of a specific tumour type is clearly different to that needed to determine the statistical uncertainty around the data used for modelling a benchmark dose. As such, each topic is dealt with separately to allow those with specialised knowledge to target key areas of guidance and provide a more in-depth discussion on each subject for those new to the concept of the margin of exposure approach.
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