New developments in the evolution and application of the WHO/IPCS framework on mode of action/species concordance analysis

J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Jan;34(1):1-18. doi: 10.1002/jat.2949. Epub 2013 Oct 25.


The World Health Organization/International Programme on Chemical Safety mode of action/human relevance framework has been updated to reflect the experience acquired in its application and extend its utility to emerging areas in toxicity testing and non-testing methods. The underlying principles have not changed, but the framework's scope has been extended to enable integration of information at different levels of biological organization and reflect evolving experience in a much broader range of potential applications. Mode of action/species concordance analysis can also inform hypothesis-based data generation and research priorities in support of risk assessment. The modified framework is incorporated within a roadmap, with feedback loops encouraging continuous refinement of fit-for-purpose testing strategies and risk assessment. Important in this construct is consideration of dose-response relationships and species concordance analysis in weight of evidence. The modified Bradford Hill considerations have been updated and additionally articulated to reflect increasing experience in application for cases where the toxicological outcome of chemical exposure is known. The modified framework can be used as originally intended, where the toxicological effects of chemical exposure are known, or in hypothesizing effects resulting from chemical exposure, using information on putative key events in established modes of action from appropriate in vitro or in silico systems and other lines of evidence. This modified mode of action framework and accompanying roadmap and case examples are expected to contribute to improving transparency in explicitly addressing weight of evidence considerations in mode of action/species concordance analysis based on both conventional data sources and evolving methods.

Keywords: adverse outcome pathway; cellular response; human relevance framework; key events; mode of action; modified Bradford Hill considerations; molecular target; species concordance analysis; tissue response; weight of evidence approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Toxicity Tests / methods*
  • Toxicity Tests / standards*
  • World Health Organization*