Liver tumors induced in rats by oral administration of the antihistaminic methapyrilene hydrochloride

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Science  15 Aug 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4458, pp. 817-819
DOI: 10.1126/science.7403848


The antihistaminic over-the-counter drug methapyrilene hydrochloride, mixed with food at a concentration of 0.1 percent, was administered to 50 male and 50 female Fischer rats. A second group of 50 male and 50 female rats was given the same treatment together with 0.2 percent of sodium nitrite added to the food. Almost all of the rats in both groups developed liver neoplasms, mainly hepatocellular carcinomas and cholangiocarcinomas. The first rat died with a liver neoplasm at the 43rd week. Over 50 percent of the rats in both groups had metastases from the carcinomas of the liver to distant organs. Control rats treated with nitrite only, or untreated, did not develop liver neoplasms. There was no discernible effect of nitrite on the carcinogenicity of methapyrilene hydrochloride.