Prediction of chemical carcinogenicity in rodents from in vitro genetic toxicity assays

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Science  22 May 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4804, pp. 933-941
DOI: 10.1126/science.3554512


Four widely used in vitro assays for genetic toxicity were evaluated for their ability to predict the carcinogenicity of selected chemicals in rodents. These assays were mutagenesis in Salmonella and mouse lymphoma cells and chromosome aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Seventy-three chemicals recently tested in 2-year carcinogenicity studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute and the National Toxicology Program were used in this evaluation. Test results from the four in vitro assays did not show significant differences in individual concordance with the rodent carcinogenicity results; the concordance of each assay was approximately 60 percent. Within the limits of this study there was no evidence of complementarity among the four assays, and no battery of tests constructed from these assays improved substantially on the overall performance of the Salmonella assay. The in vitro assays which represented a range of three cell types and four end points did show substantial agreement among themselves, indicating that chemicals positive in one in vitro assay tended to be positive in the other in vitro assays.