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SAR Modelling of Complex Phenomena: Probing Methodological Limitations

Herbert S. Rosenkranz

The increased acceptance of the use of structure–activity relationship (SAR) approaches to toxicity modelling has necessitated an evaluation of the limitations of the methodology. In this study, the limit of the capacity of the MULTICASE SAR program to model complex biological and toxicological phenomena was assessed. It was estimated that, provided the data set consists of at least 300 chemicals, divided equally between active and inactive compounds, the program is capable of handling phenomena that are even more “complex” than those modelled up to now (for example, allergic contact dermatitis, Salmonella mutagenicity, biodegradability, inhibition of tubulin polymerisation). However, within the data sets currently used to generate SAR models, there are limits to the complexity that can be handled. This may be the situation with regard to the modelling of systemic toxicity (for example, the LD50).