Weight of evidence analysis for assessing the genotoxic potential of carbon nanotubes
Critical Reviews in Toxicology 2017 September [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Møller P, Jacobsen NR
Carbon nanotube (CNT) is a nanomaterial that has received interest because of its high-tensile strength and low weight. Although CNTs differ substantially in physico-chemical properties, they share high aspect ratio which resembles that of asbestos and other fibers causing lung cancer and mesothelioma. One type of multi-walled CNTs (i.e. MWCNT-7) has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by IARC (Group 2B) based on experimental animal data, whereas other types of MWCNTs and single-walled CNTs (SWCNT) could not be classified due to lack of data from epidemiologic studies and insufficient mechanistic evidence. Damage to DNA is considered to be a key mechanistic step in the development of fiber-induced cancer. Thus, the genotoxic potential can be a cornerstone in the evaluation of hazards of CNTs. The present study used a weight of evidence (WoE) analysis to evaluate the genotoxicity of different types of CNTs. Genotoxicity endpoints close to cancer (mutations and chromosome aberrations) and animal models had highest weight in the WoE analysis. Eight CNT materials out of 130, which had been assessed in several studies, were evaluated in the WoE analysis. The results demonstrated that MWCNT-7 has strongest WoE for a genotoxic hazard among the MWCNTs. Two types of SWCNTs have a similar WoE for genotoxicity as MWCNT-7. Several reference materials from the Joint Research Centre have less WoE for genotoxicity. The WoE analysis demonstrates a difference in genotoxicity for CNTs, but further research is required to unravel the physico-chemical characteristics that govern the differences in genotoxic hazard.