It has been generally accepted that genotoxic carcinogens have no threshold in exerting their potential for cancer induction. However, the non-threshold theory can be challenged for cancer risk assessment in humans. Here we examined low dose carcinogenicity of a food-derived, genotoxic hepatocarcinogen, 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx), using an in vivo medium-term bioassay to detect initiating activity for rat hepatocarcinogenesis. With MeIQx initiation at various doses followed by administration of phenobarbital, a well known hepatopromoter, no induction of glutathione S-transferase placental form-positive foci, assessed as preneoplastic lesions, was noted at doses of 0.001-1 ppm. The results imply a no-observed effect level for hepatocarcinogenicity with this genotoxic agent.
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