Journal Article

Oncogenicity Testing of 2-Ethylhexanol in Fischer 344 Rats and B6C3F1 Mice


in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 31, issue 1, pages 29-41
Published in print May 1996 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online May 1996 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Oncogenicity Testing of 2-Ethylhexanol in Fischer 344 Rats and B6C3F1 Mice

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2-Ethylhexanol (2EH) is a weak nongenotoxic hepatic peroxisome proliferator in the rat. It is a high-volume chemical intermediate in the preparation of the plasticizers bis-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and tris-(2-ethylhexyl) phosphate (TEHP), which are weak hepatocellular tumorigens in female mice. In consequence, the oncogenic potential of 2EH was evaluated in male (M) and female (F) rats and mice (50 animals/sex/group). Oral gavage doses of 2EH in 0.005% aqueous Cremophor EL (polyoxyl-35 castor oil) were given five times a week to rats: 0 (water), 0 (vehicle), 50, 150, and 500 mg/kg for 24 months, and to mice: 0 (water), 0 (vehicle), 50, 200, and 750 mg/kg for 18 months. Statistical comparisons of data were made between vehicle controls and treatment groups. There were no differences of biological significance between data from vehicle and water control groups. In rats, there were no dose-related changes at 50 mg/kg. There was reduced body weight gain at 150 mg/kg (M, 16; F, 12%) and 500 mg/kg (M, 33; F, 31%) and an increased incidence of lethargy and unkemptness. There were dose-related increases in relative liver, stomach, brain, kidney, and testis weights at sacrifice. Female rat mortality was markedly increased at 500 mg/kg. There was marked aspiration-induced bronchopneumonia in rats at 500 mg/kg; hematologic, gross, and microscopic changes, including tumors, were otherwise comparable among all rat groups. In mice at 50 and 200 mg/kg there were no dose-related changes and essentially no time-dependent or time-independent adverse trends in liver tumor incidence at the 5% significance level. At 750 mg/kg mouse body weight gain was reduced (M, 26; F, 24%), and mortality increased (M and F, 30%) versus vehicle controls. At 750 mg/kg there was a slight increase in nonneoplastic focal hyperplasia in the forestomach of mice (M 5/50, F 4/50) versus vehicle controls (M 1/50, F 1/50). There were increases in mouse relative liver (F, 21%) and stomach (M, 13%; F, 19%) weights at 750 mg/kg. There was a 12% incidence of hepatic basophilic foci and an 18% incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in male mice at 750 mg/kg, not statistically significant compared with either control by Fisher's exact test. There was a 12% incidence of hepatic basophilic foci and a 10% incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in female mice at 750 mg/kg, statistically significant (p < 0.05) compared with vehicle but not with water controls by Fisher's exact test. There were no metastases. Time-dependent and -independent statistical analyses showed an adverse trend in the incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in male and female mice, correlated with toxicity (expressed as mortality) at 750 mg/kg. The time-adjusted incidence of hepatocellular carcinomas in male mice (18.8%) was within the historical normal range at the testing facility (0–22%), but that in females (13.1%) lay outside the normal range (0–2%). Under the conditions of these studies 2EH was not oncogenic in rats, but there were weak adverse trends in hepatocellular carcinoma incidence in mice at high dose levels which may have been associated with toxicity. The major effects of chronic dosing were mortality in female rats at 500 mg/kg and in male and female mice at 750 mg/kg, accompanied by reductions in body weight gain in rats at 150 and 500 mg/kg and in mice at 750 mg/kg. Direct comparison of any tumorogenic effects of 2EH given alone to female mice with those due to 2EH formed in vivo from DEHA, DEHP, or TEHP is limited by the high mortality caused by 2EH in female mice at equivalent doses of 2EH. While 2EH may be a contributing factor in the hepatocellular carcinogenesis in female mice associated with the chronic administration of DEHA and DEHP, it is unlikely to be the entire proximate carcinogen.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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