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Toxicol Pathol. 2007 Jun;35(4):533-40.

alpha 2u-globulin nephropathy and renal tumors in national toxicology program studies.

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  • 1National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Chemically induced renal neoplasms in male rats, developed coincident with alpha(2u)-globulin nephropathy, are not considered predictive of risk to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Criteria have been defined to establish the role of alpha(2u)-globulin nephropathy in renal carcinogenesis, based on a proposed mode of action involving sustained tubular cell proliferation resulting from alpha(2u)-induced nephropathy, with consequent development of neoplastic lesions. Recent NTP studies demonstrated inconsistencies with this proposed mechanism, including in some cases, far weaker kidney tumor responses than expected based on the extent of alpha(2u)-globulin nephropathy. NTP studies with decalin, propylene glycol mono-t-butyl ether and Stoddard solvent IIC included extended evaluations of alpha(2u)-related nephropathy, and were thus used in assessing the linkage between key events in 90-day studies with renal tumors in 2-year studies. This review revealed no or at best weak associations of tumor responses with renal alpha(2u)-globulin concentrations, indices of cell turnover, or microscopic evidence of alpha(2u)-associated nephropathy in prechronic studies. While tumor responses corresponded somewhat with a measure of cumulative alpha(2u)-associated nephropathy (linear mineralization of the papilla) at the end of the 2-year studies, the severity of chronic nephropathy was generally in best agreement with the pattern of tumor response. These results suggest that while alpha(2u)-globulin nephropathy may contribute to the renal tumor response, the critical component(s) of the nephropathy most closely associated with the development of tumors could not be clearly identified in this review.

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