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Mutat Res. 1983 Apr;114(3):283-385.

Cell transformation by chemical agents--a review and analysis of the literature. A report of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gene-Tox Program.


The literature on cell transformation by chemical carcinogens has been critically reviewed. This subject is highly relevant to carcinogenesis in vivo, because the phenotypic changes that are collectively referred to as cell transformation usually involve the acquisition of tumorigenicity on inoculation into suitable rodent hosts. The systems chosen for review fall into 3 categories: cell strains (cells with a limited lifespan); cell lines (cells with an unlimited lifespan); and oncogenic viral-chemical interactions involving cells (Fischer rat embryo cells expressing an endogenous retrovirus, mouse embryo cells expressing the AKR leukemia virus, chemical enhancement of a simian adenovirus, SA7 transformation of Syrian hamster or rat embryo cells). Of the entire literature reviewed, 117 papers have been accepted for data abstraction by pre-defined criteria; these include 41 references to cell strains, 40 in cell lines, and 38 in viral-chemical interactions including cells. Because different systems have been reviewed, it would be meaningless to group all the compounds. The overall summary of the systems is as follows (many compounds have been tested in more than one system and, hence, are duplicated in these totals). (Chart: see text) In general, there is a reasonably good correlation between the results of the cell transformation systems and in vivo carcinogenesis. However, the many deficiencies of the EPA Merged Carcinogen List preclude definitive comparisons. Moreover, a number of 'false negatives' were obtained in systems that did not employ external metabolic activation. Further validation of all systems is required, but it seems very probable that several cell transformation systems will become valuable in assaying (with reasonable time and cost) the carcinogenic potential of environmental chemicals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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