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Dose-response trend tests for tumorigenesis adjusted for differences in survival and body weight across doses.


Gaylor, D.W. and Kodell, R.L.

Toxicological Sciences, 59(2), 219-225 (2001).

A relationship between rodent body weight and tumor incidence for some tissue/organ sites has been demonstrated in many studies. It is not uncommon for a chemical tested for carcinogenicity to also affect body weight due to toxicity and/or food consumption. In such cases, comparisons of tumor incidence may be biased by body weight differences across dose groups. A simple procedure was investigated for reducing this bias. This procedure divides the animals into a few groups on the basis of body weight. Body weight at 12 months was used, before the appearance of a tumor was likely to affect body weight. Statistics for dose-response trend tests are calculated within body weight strata and pooled to obtain an overall dose-response trend test. This procedure is analogous to stratifying animals on the basis of age at the time of removal from a study to account for differences in ages of animals across dose groups that can affect comparisons of tumor incidence. In this paper, differences in survival times of animals were adjusted by the Poly-3 technique used by the National Toxicology Program. This technique does not require the assignment of cause of death. Several examples from rodent chronic bioassays were investigated, where the high dose group had reduced body weights and associated reductions in tumor incidence. When we analyzed the data by body weight strata, some positive dose-response trends for tumor incidence were demonstrated. In one case, the body weight adjusted analysis indicated that a negative dose-response trend in tumor incidence was a real effect in addition to a body weight reduction. These examples indicate that it is important to consider the effects of body weight changes as low as 10%, and perhaps less, as possibly being caused by chemicals in 2-year bioassays for carcinogenesis. The simple procedure of analyzing tumor incidence within body weight strata can reduce the bias introduced by body weight differences across dose groups.