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Toxicology. 2009 Jul 10;261(3):77-88. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2009.04.056. Epub 2009 May 3.

Genotoxic and carcinogenic effects of antipsychotics and antidepressants.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Genoa, Viale Benedettio XV 2, I-16132 Genoa, Italy.


This review provides a compendium of the results of genotoxicity and carcinogenicity assays performed on marketed antipsychotics and antidepressants. Of the 104 drugs examined, 47 (45.2%) do not have retrievable data. The remaining 57 (54.8%) have at least one and often more than one genotoxicity and/or carcinogenicity test result. Of these 57 drugs, 33 (57.9%) have at least one positive finding: 24 tested positive in at least one genotoxicity assay, 14 in at least one carcinogenicity assay, and 5 gave a positive response in both. Concerning the predictivity of genetic toxicology findings for the result(s) of long-term carcinogenesis assays, 25 drugs have both genotoxicity and carcinogenicity data: 8 of them (32.0%) were neither genotoxic nor carcinogenic, 8 (32.0%) were carcinogenic in at least one sex of mice or rats but tested negative in genotoxicity assays, 4 (16.0%) tested positive in at least one genotoxicity assay but were non-carcinogenic, and 5 (20.0%) gave a positive response in at least one genotoxicity assay and in at least one carcinogenicity assay. Only 16 (15.4%) of the 104 drugs examined have all data required by present guidelines for testing of pharmaceuticals, but it should be considered that a large fraction of them were developed and marketed prior to the present regulatory climate.

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