Preneoplastic Lesions as Indicators of the Carcinogenic Risk Caused by Chemicals

  • P. Bannasch
  • H. Enzmann
  • H. Zerban
Conference paper


The evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of chemical compounds depends mainly on the histological demonstration of manifest malignant neoplasia induced in whole animals up to the present. A great disadvantage of this approach is the long lag period in the development of neoplasms produced with chemicals. In order to overcome this drawback, many efforts have been made to detect early biochemical or morphological lesions which might be specific for carcinogens. A vast variety of short-term tests have been carried out in vitro using bacteria, mammalian cell cultures, or isolated hepatocytes (see Greim et al., this volume). These tests provided valuable information about the interactions of many chemicals with various cellular constituents, including macromolecules such as DNA or proteins, but they did not allow an unequivocal prediction of the carcinogenic potential of the respective compounds in whole animals. This unfavorable situation is not only due to the fact that many important parameters such as the absorption, distribution throughout the body, and possible excretion of foreign compounds cannot be studied in the in vitro systems; it is also a reflection of our persistent lack of knowledge of the essential primary event in neoplastic cell transformation. Under these conditions, the detection of phenotypically altered preneoplastic cell populations in various tissues has gained much attention during the past two decades (Bannasch 1984; Carter 1984). In a number of laboratories, systematic studies of the preneoplastic lesions in animal models permitted a distinction between different stages of the carcinogenic process, and led to the recommendation of short-term whole-animal bioassays for carcinogens (cf. Goldsworthy and Pitot 1985b; Pereira and Stoner 1985;Bannasch 1986; Moore and Kitagawa 1986).


Carcinogenic Risk Focal Liver Lesion Preneoplastic Lesion Cell Focus Phenotypic Instability 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Bannasch
  • H. Enzmann
  • H. Zerban

There are no affiliations available

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