Author(s): Maronpot RR, Flake G, Huff J
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Abstract Use of laboratory animals to identify carcinogenic potential of chemicals, mixtures, and other agents has a modern history of greater than 40 years from which much useful scientific and public health information can be derived. While laboratory animals differ from humans in some respects that may affect responses to hazardous exposures, use of such models is based on experimental evidence indicating that there are more genetic, genomic, physiological, biochemical, and metabolic similarities than differences among mammalian species. Issues of concordance of responses between rodent species and between rodents and humans as well as repeatability and site-specificity are important considerations in evaluating laboratory animal carcinogenicity results. Variables in experimental design such as animal strain, diet, route of exposure, and study, duration as well as single-site versus multisite carcinogenic responses all influence interpretation and intelligent use of study data. Similarities and differences in site-specific laboratory animal and corresponding human cancers should also be considered in study evaluation. Recent attempts to explore genetically engineered mice and to humanize the mouse for more relevant identification of carcinogen hazard identification have yielded mixed results. In the end we are confronted by the realization that virtually all animal cancer models are useful but imperfect surrogates for humans. Assuming the percentage of chemicals currently in commerce that are estimated to be potent animal or human carcinogens is quite low, the task of identifying agents with significant carcinogenic potential is daunting and important. The biological conundrum of scientific debate regarding the relevance of carcinogenicity studies in laboratory animals is likely to continue. Nonetheless public health considerations must take precedence when deciding human safety issues.
This article was published in Toxicol Pathol
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques