Development of a network of carcinogenicity adverse outcome pathways and its employment as an evidence framework for safety assessment

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Alex N. Cayley
Robert S. Foster
Emma Hill
Steven Kane
Grace Kocks
Alun Myden
Daniel Newman
Susanne A. Stalford
Jonathan D. Vessey
Reza Zarei
Antonio Anax F. de Oliveira


The traditional paradigm for safety assessment of chemicals for their carcinogenic potential to humans relies heavily on a battery of well-established genotoxicity tests, usually followed up by long term, high dose rodent studies. There are a variety of problems with this approach, not least that the rodent may not always be the best model to predict toxicity in humans. Consequently, new approach methodologies (NAMs) are being developed to replace or enhance predictions coming from the existing assays. However, a combination of the data arising from NAMs is likely to be required to improve upon the current paradigm and consequently a framework is needed to combine evidence in a meaningful way. Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) represent an ideal construct on which to organise this evidence. In this work a data structure outlined previously was used to capture AOPs and evidence relating to carcinogenicity. Knowledge held within the predictive system Derek Nexus was extracted, built upon, and arranged into a coherent network containing 37 AOPs. 60 Assays and 351 in silico alerts were then associated with KEs in this network and it was brought to life by associating data and contextualising evidence and predictions for over 13,400 compounds. Initial investigations into using the network to view knowledge and reason between evidence in different ways were made. Organising knowledge and evidence in this way provides a flexible framework on which to carry out more consistent and meaningful carcinogenicity safety assessments in many different contexts.

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Cayley, A., Foster, R., Hill, E., Kane, S., Kocks, G., Myden, A., Newman, D., Stalford, S., Vessey, J., Zarei, R. and de Oliveira, A. A. (2022) “Development of a network of carcinogenicity adverse outcome pathways and its employment as an evidence framework for safety assessment”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation. doi: 10.14573/altex.2201311.

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