The Rainbow Trout Liver Cancer Model: Response to Environmental Chemicals and Studies on Promotion and Chemoprevention

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012 Jan;155(1):121-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2011.05.013. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are an outstanding model of liver cancer induction by environmental chemicals and development of strategies for chemoprevention. Trout have critical and unique advantages allowing for cancer studies with 40,000 animals to determine dose-response at levels orders of magnitude lower than possible in rodents. Examples of two promoters in this model, the dietary supplement dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and industrial chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are presented. In addition, indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and chlorophyllin (CHL) inhibit initiation following exposure to potent human chemical carcinogens (e.g., aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1))). Two "ED(001)" cancer studies have been conducted, utilizing approximately 40,000 trout, by dietary exposure to AFB(1) and dibenzo[d,e,f,p]chrysene (DBC). These studies represent the two largest cancer studies ever performed and expand the dose-response dataset generated by the 25,000 mouse "ED(01)" study over an order of magnitude. With DBC, the liver tumor response fell well below the LED(10) line, often used for risk assessment, even though the biomarker (liver DBC-DNA adducts) remained linear. Conversely, the response with AFB(1) remained relatively linear throughout the entire dose range. These contributions to elucidation of mechanisms of liver cancer, induced by environmental chemicals and the remarkable datasets generated with ED(001) studies, make important contributions to carcinogenesis and chemoprevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Benzopyrenes / toxicity
  • Caprylates / toxicity
  • Chemoprevention*
  • Chlorophyllides / pharmacology
  • Chlorophyllides / therapeutic use
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / toxicity
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Indoles / therapeutic use
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / metabolism
  • Oncorhynchus mykiss / physiology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Risk Assessment


  • Benzopyrenes
  • Caprylates
  • Chlorophyllides
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Indoles
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • Aflatoxin B1
  • indole-3-carbinol
  • chlorophyllin
  • dibenzo(a,l)pyrene