Chappell GA, Wikoff DS, Thompson CM. 2021. Assessment of mechanistic data for hexavalent chromium-induced rodent intestinal cancer using the key characteristics of carcinogens. Toxicol Sci 180(1):38–50.
Oral exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) induces intestinal tumors in mice. Mutagenic and non-mutagenic modes of action (MOAs) have been accepted by different regulatory bodies globally, the latter involving cytotoxicity-induced regenerative cell proliferation. However, concerns persist that all possible MOAs have not been fully considered. To address the potential for alternative MOAs, mechanistic data not represented in the existing two MOAs were evaluated. Relevant data were identified and organized by key characteristics of carcinogens (KCCs); literature related to epigenetics, immunosuppression, receptor-mediated effects, and immortalization were reviewed to identify potential key events associated with an alternative MOA. Over 200 references were screened for these four KCCs and further prioritized based on relevance to the research objective (i.e., in vivo, oral exposure, gastrointestinal tissue). Minimal data were available specific to the intestine for these KCCs, and there was no evidence of any underlying mechanisms or key events that are not already represented in the two proposed MOAs. For example, while epigenetic dysregulation of DNA repair genes has been demonstrated, epigenetic effects were not measured in intestinal tissue, and it has been shown that Cr(VI) does not cause DNA damage in intestinal tissue. High-throughput screening (HTS) data related to the KCCs were also evaluated, with activity generally limited to the two recognized MOAs. Collectively, no plausible alternative MOAs (or key events) were identified in addition to those previously proposed for Cr(VI) SI tumors.