Structure-activity approach to the identification of environmental estrogens: the MCASE approach

SAR QSAR Environ Res. 2004 Feb;15(1):55-67. doi: 10.1080/1062936032000169679.


A sizable number of environmental contaminants and natural products have been found to possess hormonal activity and have been termed endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Due to the vast number (estimated at about 58,000) of environmental contaminants, their potential to adversely affect the endocrine system, and the paucity of health effects data associated with them, the U.S. Congress was led to mandate testing of these compounds for endocrine-disrupting ability. Here we provide evidence that a computational structure-activity relationship (SAR) approach has the potential to rapidly and cost effectively screen and prioritize these compounds for further testing. Our models were based on data for 122 compounds assayed for estrogenicity in the ESCREEN assay. We produced two models, one for relative proliferative effect (RPE) and one for relative proliferative potency (RPP) for chemicals as compared to the effects and potency of 17beta-estradiol. The RPE and RPP models achieved an 88 and 72% accurate prediction rate, respectively, for compounds not in the learning sets. The good predictive ability of these models and their basis on simple to understand 2-D molecular fragments indicates their potential usefulness in computational screening methods for environmental estrogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollutants / pharmacology
  • Environmental Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen