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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Feb;68(1):108-18. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2013.11.011. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Reassessing the two-year rodent carcinogenicity bioassay: a review of the applicability to human risk and current perspectives.

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Product Safety Labs, 2394 Highway 130, Dayton, NJ 08810, USA. Electronic address:
Hall Consulting, Inc., 110 Shady Brook Circle #300, St. Simons Island, GA 31522, USA. Electronic address:
Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:


The 2-year rodent carcinogenicity test has been the regulatory standard for the prediction of human outcomes for exposure to industrial and agro-chemicals, food additives, pharmaceuticals and environmental pollutants for over 50 years. The extensive experience and data accumulated over that time has spurred a vigorous debate and assessment, particularly over the last 10 years, of the usefulness of this test in terms of cost and time for the information obtained. With renewed interest in the United States and globally, plus new regulations in the European Union, to reduce, refine and replace sentinel animals, this review offers the recommendation that reliance on information obtained from detailed shorter-term, 6 months rodent studies, combined with genotoxicity and chemical mode of action can realize effective prediction of human carcinogenicity instead of the classical two year rodent bioassay. The aim of carcinogenicity studies should not be on the length of time, and by obligation, number of animals expended but on the combined systemic pathophysiologic influence of a suspected chemical in determining disease. This perspective is in coordination with progressive regulatory standards and goals globally to utilize effectively resources of animal usage, time and cost for the goal of human disease predictability.


2-Year carcinogenicity; Genotoxicity; Human risk assessment; Prediction

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