NTP involved in identifying characteristics of carcinogenicity
A National Toxicology Program researcher participated in an international working group that identified 10 key characteristics of cancer-causing compounds. Hosted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the working group concluded these characteristics may be used to mechanistically identify and evaluate human carcinogenic agents.
The workgroup was established after the IARC updated its list of Group 1 carcinogens using mechanistic data in literature. During the IARC review, several members noticed that the evaluation lacked a generally accepted method of identifying mechanistic data on human cancer risks. To establish consistency in evaluating cancer risks, scientists met during two workshops and identified features common to many known human carcinogens, such as the ability to affect DNA repair, cause epigenetic changes, and alter cell proliferation, cell death, or nutrient supplies.
To illustrate how this approach would work, the experts performed a systematic literature review, using the 10 key characteristics to organize information for benzene and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), two Group 1 carcinogens. Their analysis indicated that eight of the 10 proposed characteristics were associated with benzene carcinogenicity, while seven of the 10 were associated with PCBs. The continued development of this model will help assess the potential human cancer risk of newly available compounds. (KS)
Citation: Smith MT, Guyton KZ, Gibbons CF, Fritz JM, Portier CJ, Rusyn I, DeMarini DM, Caldwell JC, Kavlock RJ, Lambert PF, Hecht SS, Bucher JR, Stewart BW, Baan RA, Cogliano VJ, Straif K. 2016. Key characteristics of carcinogens as a basis for organizing data on mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Environ Health Perspect 124(6):713-721.