Monte Carlo Simulation of Rodent Carcinogenicity Bioassays

Alexander Shlyakhter, Gay Goodman, Richard Wilson

Risk Analysis, 12, 73-82 (1992)


In this paper we describe a simulation, by Monte Carlo methods, of the results of rodent carcinogenicity bioassays. Our aim is to study how the observed correlation between carcinogenic potency (beta or ln2/TD50,) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) arises, and whether the existence of this correlation leads to an artificial correlation between carcinogenic potencies in rats and mice. The validity of the bioassay results depends upon, among other things, certain biases in the experimental design of the bioassays. These include selection of chemicals for bioassay and details of the experimental protocoi, including dose levels. We use as variables in our simulation the following factors: (1) dose group size, (2) number of dose groups, (3) tumor rate in the control (zero-dose) group, (4) distribution of the MTD vaIues of the group of chemicals as specified by the mean and standard deviation, (5) the degree of correlation between beta and the MTD, as given by the standard deviation of the random error term in the linear regression of log beta on log (l/MTD), and (6) an upper limit on the number of animals with tumors. Monte Carlo simulation can show whether the information present in the existing rodent bioassay database is sufficient to reject the validity of the proposed interspecies correlations at a given level of stringency. We hope that such analysis will be useful for future bioassay design, and more importantly, for discussion of the whole NCI/ NTP program.

Keywords: Animal bioassays; Monte Carlo simulations; chemicals; carcinogens; correlations.

Download: pdf (1120K)
Back to papers