The types and levels of fats in the diet are known to affect the incidence of certain neoplasms in humans and rodents. In long-term toxicity and carcinogenicity studies in rodents, the level of dietary fat is altered by using oil as a vehicle to administer unpalatable or volatile chemicals. Control male rats receiving a corn oil vehicle have a higher incidence of pancreatic proliferative lesions and a lower incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia than untreated control males. Therefore, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) designed studies to evaluate the role of several oils in altering cancer rates in male rats. The NTP study reported here was part of a larger program that included cooperative agreements with Dartmouth Medical School, Northwestern Medical School, and the University of Missouri. The program was designed to study the mechanisms by which corn oil induces pancreatic cancer. To evaluate corn oil as well as two other gavage vehicles for potential toxicity, corn oil, safflower oil, and tricaprylin were administered by gavage to male F344/N rats for 2 years. The rats that received corn oil were also made available to the university investigators for study of the corn oil-induced pancreatic lesions. Each vehicle was administered by gavage at volumes of 2.5, 5, or 10 mL/kg body weight once daily for 5 days per week. In the corn oil study, a control of 10 mL saline/kg was also included. To evaluate the potential role of corn oil in promoting a pancreatic proliferative effect, 500 mg dichloromethane/kg body weight was administered in 2.5, 5, or 10 mL corn oil/kg body weight for 2 years to male F344/N rats. Dichloromethane was chosen because the chemical appeared to cause pancreatic proliferative lesions when administered by gavage in a corn oil vehicle but not when the exposure was by inhalation. In each of these studies, the term "dose" refers to the volume of gavage vehicle administered.
Two-year studies of corn oil, safflower oil, and tricaprylin
Survival and body weights
Two-year survival was increased in male rats receiving corn oil (untreated control, 26/50; saline control, 32/50; 2.5 mL/kg, 33/50; 5 mL/kg, 38/50; 10 mL/kg, 40/50) primarily due to a dose-related decreased incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia. The mean body weights of all dosed groups were at least 5% higher than those of the untreated and saline controls by week 48, but the mean body weights of groups receiving 2.5 or 5 mL corn oil/kg decreased during the final weeks of the study (after week 89) and were similar to those of the controls at the end of the study.
Two-year survival was slightly increased in male rats receiving safflower oil relative to that of the controls (untreated control, 30/50; 2.5 mL/kg, 33/50; 5 mL/kg, 40/50; 10 mL/kg, 36/50). The mean body weight of male rats receiving 10 mL safflower oil/kg was at least 5% greater than that of the controls after week 45 and was 16% greater by the end of the study.
Two-year survival of high-dose tricaprylin males was lower than that of the controls (untreated control, 31/50; 2.5 mL/kg, 30/50; 5 mL/kg, 31/50; 10 mL/kg, 23/53) due to moribund kills and deaths that appeared to be related to toxicity. The mean body weight of the high-dose group was lower than that of the controls throughout the study, although the difference was less than 5% after week 61.
In the corn oil study, there were significant dose-related increased incidences of pancreatic exocrine hyperplasia and adenoma (hyperplasia: 8/50, 28/47, 28/50, 35/50; adenoma: 1/50, 8/47, 10/50, 23/50; carcinoma: 0/50, 0/47, 1/50, 0/50 in the untreated control, 2.5, 5, and 10 mL/kg groups, respectively). The incidence and severity of nephropathy decreased with dose (incidence [mean severity grade]: 47/50 [2.1], 43/48 [1.8], 45/50 [1.4], 40/49 [1.2]). The incidences of pheochromocytomas (benign, malignant, or complex) of the adrenal medulla were also decreased in dosed rats (23/49, 21/50, 5/50, 9/50). The incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia was significantly decreased in rats dosed with corn oil (27/50, 16/50, 11/50, 7/50).
In rats receiving safflower oil, the incidences of pancreatic exocrine hyperplasia and adenoma increased significantly with dose (hyperplasia: 8/50, 14/50, 29/49, 30/50; adenoma: 1/50, 7/50,15/49, 28/50; carcinoma: 0/50, 0/50, 0/49, 1/50 in the untreated control, 2.5, 5, and 10 mL/kg groups, respectively). There was a decrease in the severity, but not in the incidence, of nephropathy, a common lesion in aging F344/N rats (incidence [mean severity grade]: 49/50 [2.0], 50/50 [1.8], 47/50 [1.1], 49/49 [1.1]). There were decreased incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia (33/50, 19/50, 18/50, 7/51).
In the tricaprylin study, there were significant dose-related increased incidences of pancreatic exocrine hyperplasia and adenoma (hyperplasia: 8/49, 9/49, 18/49, 28/50; adenoma: 2/49, 6/49,13/49,18/50 in the untreated control, 2.5, 5, and 10 mL/kg groups, respectively). The incidence of proliferative lesions of the forestomach increased significantly with dose (basal cell hyperplasia: 4/50, 7/50, 12/49, 21/52; squamous cell papilloma: 0/50, 0/50, 3/50, 10/53). The incidence of nephropathy was significantly decreased in high-dose rats, and the severity of nephropathy decreased with dose (incidence [mean severity grade]: 46/50 [2.0], 42/50 [1.5], 45/50 [1.7], 27/49 [0.9]). In high-dose rats, the incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia was decreased (23/50, 28/50, 22/50, 9/53).
Two-year study of dichloromethane in corn oil
Survival and body weights
Two-year survival increased slightly with dose in the three groups receiving 500 mg dichloromethane/kg in 2.5, 5, or 10 mL corn oil/kg (23/50, 28/50, 31/50) due to a dose-related decrease in the incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia. The rats receiving 500 mg dichloromethane/kg without corn oil were sacrificed within the first 3 weeks of the study due to the severe toxicity of dichloromethane. The final mean body weight of the high-dose rats was greater than the final mean body weights of groups receiving dichloromethane in 2.5 or 5 mL corn oil/kg.
There was a dose-related increase in the incidence of pancreatic proliferative exocrine lesions in rats receiving dichloromethane in 2.5, 5, and 10 mL corn oil/kg (hyperplasia: 28/50, 38/50, 44/50; adenoma: 9/50,19/50, 41/50; carcinoma: 0/50,1/50, 3/50). The incidences of pancreatic exocrine hyperplasia and adenoma in rats receiving dichloromethane in 5 or 10 mL, but not 2.5 mL, corn oil were increased compared to the incidences in rats receiving comparable volumes of corn oil alone (hyperplasia: 2.5 mL, 28/47; 5 mL, 28/50;10 mL, 35/50; adenoma: 8/47,10/50, 23/50; carcinoma: 0/47,1/50, 0/50).
There were significantly increased incidences of pituitary gland pars distalis adenoma in rats receiving dichloromethane in corn oil (20/50, 18/49, 16/49) when compared to those in rats receiving comparable volumes of corn oil alone (10/50, 6/49, 7/50). The incidence of mammary gland adenoma and fibroadenoma (combined) was significantly increased in rats receiving dichloromethane in 10 mL corn oil/kg (7/50) when compared to rats receiving dichloromethane in 2.5 mL corn oil/kg (1/50), but was not significantly increased when compared to the group receiving 10 mL of corn oil alone (3/50). The incidences of mammary gland adenoma and fibroadenoma (combined) were 7/50 for the untreated safflower oil controls and 6/50 for the untreated tricaprylin controls. The incidence of mononuclear cell leukemia decreased in the group receiving dichloromethane in 10 mL corn oil/kg (13/50,14/50, 5/50).
Neither safflower oil nor corn oil was mutagenic in Salmonella typhimurium strains TA97, TA98, TA100, or TA1535, with or without S9. Tricaprylin, in contrast, was mutagenic in strain TA1535 with, but not without, S9. Tricaprylin did not induce mutations in strains TA97, TA98, or TA100, with or without S9.
These studies were designed to evaluate the effects of various concentrations of an oil very high in polyunsaturated fat (safflower oil), an oil containing high levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (corn oil), and an oil containing saturated medium-chain fatty acids (tricaprylin) on the incidence and pattern of neoplasms in the F344/N rat. In addition, safflower oil and tricaprylin were evaluated as replacements for the corn oil vehicle.
These studies demonstrate that safflower oil and tricaprylin do not offer significant advantages over corn oil as a gavage vehicle in long-term rodent studies. Corn oil, safflower oil, and tricaprylin each caused hyperplasia and adenoma of the exocrine pancreas, decreased incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia, and reduced incidences or severity of nephropathy in male F344/N rats. There was an increased incidence of squamous cell papillomas of the forestomach in F344/N rats receiving 10 mL tricaprylin/kg. Further, the use of corn oil as a gavage vehicle may have a confounding effect on the interpretation of chemical-induced proliferative lesions of the exocrine pancreas and mononuclear cell leukemia in male F344/N rats.