Publications from the Carcinogenic Potency Project

Gold, L.S., Manley, N.B., and Ames, B.N. Extrapolation of carcinogenicity between species: Qualitative and quantitative factors. Risk Anal. 12: 579-588 (December, 1992).

Prediction of human cancer risk from the results of rodent bioassays requires 2 types of extrapolation: a qualitative extrapolation from short-lived rodent species to long-lived humans, and a quantitative extrapolation from near-toxic doses in the bioassay to low level human exposures. Experimental evidence on the accuracy of prediction between closely-related species tested under similar experimental conditions (rats, mice, and hamsters), indicates that: (1) if a chemical is positive in one species, it will be positive in the second species about 75% of the time; however, since about 50% of test chemicals are positive in each species, by chance alone one would expect a predictive value between species of about 50%. (2) If a chemical induces tumors in a particular target organ in one species it will induce tumors in the same organ in the second species about 50% of the time. Similar predictive values are obtained in an analysis of prediction from humans to rats or from humans to mice for known human carcinogens. Limitations of bioassay data for use in quantitative extrapolation are discussed, including constraints on both estimates of carcinogenic potency and of the dose response in experiments with only 2 doses and a control. Quantitative extrapolation should be based on an understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis, particularly mitogenic effects that are present at high and not low dose.

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Last updated: November 10, 1995

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