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Mutat Res. 2001 May;488(2):151-69.

A review of the genotoxicity of marketed pharmaceuticals.

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DuPont Pharmaceuticals Company, Stine-Haskell Research Center, PO Box 50, H1/1710, Newark, DE 19714, USA.


Information in the 1999 Physician's Desk Reference as well as from the peer-reviewed published literature was used to evaluate the genotoxicity of marketed pharmaceuticals. This survey is a compendium of genotoxicity information and a means to gain perspective on the inherent genotoxicity of structurally diverse pharmaceuticals. Data from 467 marketed drugs were collected. Excluded from analysis were anti-cancer drugs and nucleosides, which are expected to be genotoxic, steroids, biologicals and peptide-based drugs. Of the 467 drugs, 115 had no published gene-tox data. This group was comprised largely of acutely administered drugs such as antibiotics, antifungals, antihistamines decongestants and anesthetics. The remaining 352 had at least one standard gene-tox assay result. Of these, 101 compounds (28.7%) had at least one positive assay result in the pre-ICH/OECD standard four-test battery (bacterial mutagenesis, in vitro cytogenetics, mouse lymphoma assay (MLA), in vivo cytogenetics). Per assay type, the percentage of positive compounds was: bacterial mutagenesis test, 27/323 (8.3%); in vitro cytogenetics 55/222 (24.8%); MLA 24/96 (25%); in vivo cytogenetics 29/252 (11.5%). Of the supplemental genetic toxicology test findings reported, the sister chromatid exchange (SCE) assay had the largest percentage of positives 17/39 (43.5%) and mammalian mutagenesis assays (excluding MLA) had the lowest percentage of positives 2/91 (2.2%). The predictive value of genetic toxicology findings for 2-year bioassay outcomes is difficult to assess since carcinogenicity can occur via non-genotoxic mechanisms. Nevertheless, the following survey findings were made: 201 drugs had both gene-tox data and rodent carcinogenicity data. Of these, 124 were negative and 77 were equivocal or positive for carcinogenicity in at least 1 gender/1 species. Of the 124 non-carcinogens, 100 had no positive gene-tox findings. Of the remaining 24, 19 were positive in in vitro cytogenetics assays. Among the 77 compounds that exhibited equivocal or positive effects in carcinogenesis studies, 26 were positive in gene-tox assays and 51 were negative. Of the 51 negatives, 47 had multiple negative gene-tox assay results suggesting that these are probably non-genotoxic carcinogens. Statistical analyses suggested that no combination of gene-tox assays provided a higher predictivity of rodent carcinogenesis than the bacterial mutagenicity test itself.

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