Cancer risk assessment: the science that is not

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 1992 Aug;16(1):10-20. doi: 10.1016/0273-2300(92)90019-6.


Regulators have adopted the assumption of low dose linearity in cancer risk assessment, variously justified as scientifically correct and as responsible public health policy. Corollary assumptions are the one-molecule-one-hit hypothesis, the exclusion of no-effect thresholds, and the equivalency of response in experimental rodents and man. While our understanding of the carcinogenesis process remains tentative, these generalizations are not sustained by the limited scientific evidence available, not even as interim working hypotheses. In this light, they reflect a facile bureaucratic response to pragmatic demands borne of political perceptions, rather than the recognition of a complex and still opaque reality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Rodentia