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Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Sep;49(9):2116-24. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2011.05.026. Epub 2011 May 30.

Toxicity and carcinogenicity of androstenedione in F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice.

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National Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, United States.


Androstenedione was marketed as a dietary supplement to increase muscle mass during training. Due to concern over long-term use, the NTP evaluated the subchronic and chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity of androstenedione in male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice. In subchronic studies, dose limiting effects were not observed. A chronic (2-year) exposure by gavage at 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg in rats and male mice, and 2, 10, or 50 mg/kg in female mice (50 mg/kg, maximum feasible dose) was conducted. Increased incidences of lung alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma and carcinoma occurred in the 20 mg/kg male rats and increases in mononuclear cell leukemia occurred in the 20 and 50 mg/kg female rats, which may have been related to androstenedione administration. In male and female mice, androstenedione was carcinogenic based upon a significant increase in hepatocellular tumors. A marginal increase in pancreatic islet cell adenomas in male (50 mg/kg) and female (2, 10, 50 mg/kg) mice was considered to be related to androstenedione administration. Interestingly, incidences of male rat Leydig cell adenomas and female rat mammary gland fibroadenomas decreased. In conclusion, androstenedione was determined to be carcinogenic in male and female mice, and may have been carcinogenic in rats.

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