Evaluation of the mode of action and human relevance of liver tumors in male mice treated with epyrifenacil

Satoki Fukunaga, Keiko Ogata, Ayumi Eguchi, Kohei Matsunaga, Kengo Sakurai, Jun Abe, Samuel M. Cohen, Hiroyuki Asano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Epyrifenacil (trademark name: Rapidicil®), a novel protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO)-inhibiting herbicide, induces hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas in male CD-1 mice after 78 weeks treatment. The mode of action (MOA) of these mouse liver tumors and their relevance to humans was assessed based on the 2006 International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) Human Relevance Framework. Epyrifenacil is not genotoxic and induced liver tumors via the postulated porphyria-mediated cytotoxicity MOA with the following key events: (#1) PPO inhibition; (#2) porphyrin accumulation; (#3) hepatocellular injury; with (#4) subsequent regenerative cell proliferation; and ultimately (#5) development of liver tumors. This article evaluates the weight of evidence for this MOA based on the modified Bradford Hill criteria. The MOA data were aligned with the dose and temporal concordance, biological plausibility, coherence, strength, consistency, and specificity for a porphyria-mediated cytotoxicity MOA while excluding other alternative MOAs. Although the postulated MOA could qualitatively potentially occur in humans, we demonstrate that it is unlikely to occur in humans because of quantitative toxicodynamic and toxicokinetic differences between mice and humans. Therefore, this MOA is considered not relevant to humans, utilizing the IPCS Human Relevance Framework; consequently, a nonlinear, threshold dose response would be appropriate for human risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105268
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Chemical-induced porphyria
  • Chimeric mouse with humanized liver
  • Epyrifenacil
  • Mode of action
  • Mouse liver tumors
  • Porphyria-mediated cytotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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