The Carcinogenic Potency Project

The Carcinogenic Potency Database (CPDB)

Lois Swirsky Gold, PhD, Director
Memorial of Lois Swirsky Gold by Bruce Ames (2012)
Afterword by Thomas H. Slone (2020)

Web Page on Each Individual Chemical CPDB Summary Table by Chemical: PDF, Excel, Rich Text Format CPDB Summary Table by Target Site CPDB Screen Version Format CPDB Plot Published Format CPDB Excel and Tab-separated CPDB Methods and Guide to Plots Chemical Structures, SMILES, InChI Dataset on Dosing and Survival: Excel and Tab-separated Summary Table by Chemical of NCI/NTP Bioassays Summary Table by Target Site of NCI/NTP Bioassays Animal Cancer Tests and Human Cancer Risk Assessment Misconceptions about the Causes of Cancer CPDB Publications by Topic CPDB Publications by Year Aristolochic Acid Acknowledement and Support

The Carcinogenic Potency Database (CPDB) is a unique and widely used international resource of the results of 6540 chronic, long-term animal cancer tests on 1547 chemicals. The CPDB provides easy access to the bioassay literature, with qualitative and quantitative analyses of both positive and negative experiments that have been published over the past 50 years in the general literature through 2001 and by the National Cancer Institute/National Toxicology Program through 2004. The CPDB standardizes the diverse literature of cancer bioassays that vary widely in protocol, histopathological examination and nomenclature, and in the published author’s choices of what information to provide in their papers. Results are reported in the CPDB for tests in rats, mice, hamsters, dogs, and nonhuman primates.

For each experiment, information is included that is important in the interpretation of bioassays: species, strain, and sex of test animal; features of experimental protocol such as route of administration, duration of dosing, average daily dose-rate in mg/kg body weight/day, and duration of experiment; target organ, tumor type, and tumor incidence; carcinogenic potency (TD50) and its statistical significance; shape of the dose-response, author’s opinion as to carcinogenicity, and literature citation. The TD50, our numerical description of carcinogenic potency, is the daily dose-rate in mg/kg/body weight/day for life to induce tumors in half of test animals that would have remained tumor-free at zero dose. TD50 provides a standardized quantitative measure that can be used for comparisons and analyses of many issues in carcinogenesis. The range of TD50 values across chemicals that are rodent carcinogens is more than 100 million-fold.

A description of methods used in the CPDB to standardize the diverse literature of animal cancer tests is presented for:
Formats of the CPDB
The boxes above link to several formats of the CPDB that are suitable for (1) screen viewing, (2) printing or (3) reading the data into statistical packages and spreadsheets. Codes used in the CPDB are defined in appendices. The Web site is fully searchable by all fields and includes SMILES, InChI codes and structures for all chemicals.
A summary table by chemical reports a one-line summary of positivity, potency and target sites for each chemical, whether positive or negative for carcinogenicity. A compendium of CPDB results organized by target organ reports all chemicals that induce tumors in each of 35 target organs.
A single Web page on each chemical gives all results in the CPDB.
Together, the plot of the CPDB, the bibliography of papers included in the database, and the summary tables provide a guide to the literature of chronic, long-term animal cancer tests, as well as an accessible research resource.

Several formats of the CPDB are available on this Web site:

Estimates of the lower confidence on TD10 are provided in an Excel spreadsheet.

Web Page for Each Individual Chemical
The Web site provides a single Web page on each individual chemical in the CPDB, which is accessible from a list of chemicals. These Web pages of individual chemicals provide both summary and complete information about each chemical in the CPDB. Each page reports a summary of results for that chemical in each sex-species tested, including positivity, target sites and TD50 values. Detailed results from each experiment on that particular chemical are given in a plot format suitable for screen viewing. Chemical structure, InChI and SMILES codes are reported.

Web Page on Animal Cancer Tests and Human Cancer Risk Assessment
A new web page presents a graphic that uses a Margin of Exposure Index to provide a broad perspective on possible cancer hazards from human exposures to chemicals that cause cancer in high dose rodent cancer tests. Exposures include high historical exposures to workers, pharmaceuticals, natural chemicals in the average diet, air pollutants, food additives, and pesticide residues. Human exposure levels range from close to the rodent carcinogenic dose for a few historical exposures in the workplace to a billion times less the rodent carcinogenic dose for some pesticide residues. Human consumption of the background of natural chemicals in food is usually closer to the rodent carcinogenic dose than pesticide residues or pollutants, and half the natural chemicals tested are carcinogenic in high dose tests. Recent risk assessment methods indicate that for some chemicals the mechanism of carcinogenesis in rodents at high dose is not relevant to humans.

Our publications are provided as PDF files on this Web site, listed by year and by topic. Broad research areas include: methodological analyses of bioassay results; species comparisons in carcinogenicity and potency; target organs of chemical carcinogens; mechanisms of carcinogenesis and the interpretation of the high proportion of chemicals that test positive; risk assessment techniques; the background of naturally-occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens; setting priorities among possible cancer hazards from natural and synthetic rodent carcinogens; occupational exposures and possible cancer hazards; disparities in cancer risk estimates for pesticide residues in food; and misconceptions about the causes of cancer.

Development of the Carcinogenic Potency Database
The CPDB was developed between 1980 and 2005 by the following people:

Lois Swirsky Gold, Bruce N. Ames, Leslie Bernstein, Mark Blumenthal, Kenneth Chow, Maria Da Costa, Margarita de Veciana, Susan Eisenberg, Georganne Backman Garfinkel, Thomas Haggin, William R. Havender, N. Kim Hooper, Robert Levinson, Peggy Lopipero, Renae Magaw, Neela B. Manley, Peter M. MacLeod, Richard Peto, Malcolm C. Pike, Lars Rohrbach, Charles B. Sawyer, Thomas H. Slone, Mark Smith, Bonnie R. Stern, Michael Wong.

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