Abstract for TR-361

Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Hexachloroethane in F344/N Rats (Gavage Studies)

CASRN: 67-72-1
Chemical Formula: C2Cl6
Molecular Weight: 236.7
Synonyms/Common Names: Carbon hexachloride; ethane hexachloride; hexachlorethane; hexachloroethylene; 1,1,1,2,2,2-hexachloroethane; perchloroethane
Report Date: Aug 1989

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Hexachloroethane was previously tested in Osborne-Mendel rats and B6C3F1 mice by gavage (See TR-68, reported 1978).

Hexachloroethane is used in organic synthesis as a retarding agent in fermentation, as a camphor substitute in nitrocellulose, in pyrotechnics and smoke devices, in explosives, and as a solvent. In previous long-term gavage studies with B6C3F1 mice and Osbourne-Mendel rats (78 weeks of exposure followed by 12-34 weeks of observation), hexachloroethane caused increased incidences of hepatocellular carcinomas in mice. However, survival of low and high dose rats was reduced compared with that of vehicle controls, and the effects on rats were inconclusive. Therefore, additional toxicology and carcinogenesis studies were conducted in F344/N rats by administering hexachloroethane(approximately 99% pure) in corn oil by gavage to groups of males and females for 16 days,13 weeks, or 2 years. Genetic toxicology studies were conducted in Salmonella typhimurium and in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Urinalysis was performed in conjunction with the 13-week studies.

Sixteen-day studies

In the 16-day studies (dose range, 187-3,000 mg/kg), all rats that received 1,500 or 3,000 mg/kg and 1/5 males and 2/5 females that received 750 mg/kg died before the end of the studies. Final mean body weights of rats that received 750 mg/kg were 25% lower than that of vehicle controls for males and 37% lower for females. Compound-related clinical signs seen at 750 mg/kg or more included dyspnea, ataxia, prostration, and excessive lacrimation. Other compound-related effects included hyaline droplet formation in the tubular epithelial cells in all dosed males and tubular cell regeneration and granular casts in the tubules at the corticomedullary junction in the kidney in males receiving 187 and 375mg/kg.

Thirteen-week studies

In the 13-week studies (dose range, 47-750 mg/kg), 5/10 male rats and 2/10 female rats that received 750 mg/kg died before the end of the studies. The final mean bodyweight of male rats that received 750 mg/kg was 19% lower than that of vehicle controls. Compound-related clinical signs for both sexes included hyperactivity at doses of 94 mg/kg or higher and convulsions at doses of 375 or 750 mg/kg. The relative weights of liver, heart, and kidney were increased for exposed males and females. Kidney lesions were seen in all dosed male groups, and the severity increased with dose. Papillary necrosis and tubular cell necrosis and degeneration in the kidney and hemorrhagic necrosis in the urinary bladder were observed in the five male rats that received 750 mg/kg and died before the end of the studies; at all lower doses, hyaline droplets, tubular regeneration, and granular casts were present in the kidney. No chemical-related kidney lesions were observed in females. Foci of hepatocellular necrosis were observed in several male and female rats at doses of 188 mg/kg or higher.

Dose selection for the 2-year studies was based primarily on the lesions of the kidney in males and of the liver in females. Studies were conducted by administering hexachloroethane in corn oil by gavage at 0, 10, or 20 mg/kg body weight, 5 days per week, to groups of 50 male rats. Groups of 50 female rats were administered 0, 80, or 160 mg/kg on the same schedule.

Two-year studies

Body weight and survival

Mean body weights of high dose rats were slightly (5%-9%) lower than those of vehicle controls toward the end of the studies. No significant differences in survival were observed between any groups of rats (male: vehicle control, 31/50; 10 mg/kg, 29/50; 20 mg/kg, 26/50; female: vehicle control, 32/50; 80 mg/kg, 27/50; 160 mg/kg, 32/50).

Nonneoplastic and neoplastic effects

Incidences of kidney mineralization (vehicle control, 2/50; low dose,15/50; high dose, 32/50) and hyperplasia of the pelvic transitional epithelium(0/50; 7/50; 7/50) were increased in dosed male rats. Renal tubule hyperplasia was observed at an increased incidence in high dose male rats (2/50; 4/50;11/50). These lesions have been described as characteristic of the hyaline droplet nephropathy that is associated with an accumulation of liver-generated a2µ-globulin in the cytoplasm of tubular epithelial cells. The severity of nephropathy was increased in high dose male rats (moderate vs. mild), and the incidences and severity of nephropathy were increased in dosed females (22/50; 42/50;45/50). The incidences of adenomas (1/50; 2/50; 4/50), carcinomas (0/50; 0/50; 3/50), and adenomas or carcinomas (combined) (1/50; 2/50; 7/50) of the renal tubule were also increased in the high dose male group. One of the carcinomas in the high dose group metastasized to the lung. No compound-related neoplasms were observed in females.

The incidence of pheochromocytomas of the adrenal gland in low dose male rats was significantly greater than that in vehicle controls (15/50; 28/50; 21/49),and the incidences for both dosed groups were greater than the mean historical control incidence (28% ± 11%).

Genetic toxicology

Hexachloroethane was not mutagenic in S.typhimurium strains TA98, TA100, TA1535, or TA1537 when tested with and without exogenous metabolic activation. In CHO cells, hexachloroethane did not induce chromosomal aberrations with or without metabolic activation but did produce sister chromatid exchanges in the presence of exogenous metabolic activation.

Data audit

The data, documents, and pathology materials from the 2-year studies of hexachloroethane have been audited. The audit findings show that the conduct of the studies is documented adequately and support the data and results given in this Technical Report.


Under the conditions of these 2-year gavage studies, there was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of hexachloroethane for male F344/N rats, based on the increased incidences of renal neoplasms. The marginally increased incidences of pheochromocytomas of the adrenal gland may have been related to hexachloroethane administration to male rats. There was no evidence of carcinogenic activity of hexachloroethane for female F344/N rats administered 80 or 160 mg/kg by gavage for 103 weeks.

The severity of nephropathy and incidences of linear mineralization of the renal papillae and hyperplasia of the transitional epithelium of the renal pelvis were increased in dosed male rats. The incidences and severity of nephropathy were increased in dosed female rats.