National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program

Abstract for TR-250 - Benzyl Acetate (CASRN 140-11-4)

Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Benzyl Acetate (CAS No. 140-11-4) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Gavage Studies)

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Chemical Formula: C9H10O2

Benzyl acetate, a water-white liquid with a pear-like odor, is a natural constituent of several essential oils and flower absolutes extracted from jasmine, hyacinth, gardenia, tuberose, ylang-ylang, cananga, and neroli. Commercial benzyl acetate, a liquid prepared synthetically from benzyl chloride, acetic acid, and triethylamine is used primarily as a component of perfumes for soaps and as a flavoring ingredient. This compound is practically insoluble in water but is miscible in alcohol and ether and soluble in benzene and chloroform.

Toxicology and carcinogenesis studies of benzyl acetate (>99% pure) were conducted by administering benzyl acetate in corn oil gavage to groups of 50 male and 50 female F344/N rats at doses of 0, 250, or 500 mg/kg body weight and to groups of 50 male and 50 female B6C3F1 mice at doses of 0, 500, or 1,000 mg/kg once daily five days per week for 103 weeks. Dose selection for the 2-year study was based on mean body weight gain depression and decreased survival observed at higher doses in 13 week studies.

The absence of any observable adverse effect of benzyl acetate on the survival or mean body weight gains of the rats or mice in the 2-year studies suggests that both the rats and the mice of each sex could have tolerated higher doses. An infection in the genital tract was probably responsible for the deaths of 26/35 control, 14/32 low-dose, and 8/20 high-dose female mice before the end of the study.

Acinar-cell adenomas in the pancreas of male rats occurred with a positive trend (P<0.01), and the incidence in the high-dose group (37/49, 76%) was significantly (P<0.01) higher than in the vehicle controls (22/50, 40%). The incidence of these tumors in the low-dose group (27/50, 54%) was comparable to that in the gavage controls. Acinar-cell hyperplasia of the pancreas was observed in 37/50 control, 34/50 low-dose, and 36/49 high-dose male rats. No acinar-cell hyperplasia or adenoma of the pancreas was observed in female rats.

The incidence of retinopathy and cataracts in the high-dose male rats was increased compared with the controls (retinopathy: 1/50; 0/50; 20/50; cataracts: 0/50; 0/50; 13/50). Low-dose female rats had an increased incidence of retinopathy (18/50). Retinopathy and cataracts in rats have been associated with proximity to fluorescent light in this and previous studies.

Preputial gland neoplasms occurred with a positive trend (P<0.05) in male rats (cystadenocarcinoma: 0/50; 0/50; 3/50; all adenocarcinoma: 0/50; 1/50; 4/50; adenocarcinoma or carcinoma combined: 1/50; 1/50; 6/50). However, the incidence of all preputial gland tumors was not significantly elevated (2/50; 1/50; 6/50). For female rats the incidence of clitoral gland neoplasms was marginally increased (2/50; 0/50; 5/50).

Hepatocellular adenomas occurred in mice of each sex with statistically positive trends (males: 0/50; 5/49; 13/50; females: 0/50; 0/50; 6/50), and the incidences in the high-dose groups were greater than those in the controls (males: P<0.001; females: P<0.05). Hepatocellular carcinomas were marginally elevated in dosed male and high-dose female mice (males: 10/50; 14/49; 12/50; females: 1/50; 0/50; 4/50).

Squamous cell papillomas or carcinomas of the forestomach (uncommon neoplasms) occurred with a positive trend (P<0.05) in male mice (4/49; 4/48; 11/49). The incidence of these tumors was also marginally (P=0.054) increased in the high-dose female mice (0/50; 0/50; 4/48). The incidences of these tumors in both the high-dose male and the high-dose female mice were considerably higher than the historical corn oil gavage control rates at this laboratory (males, 2/296, 0.7%; females, 2/297, 0.7%) and throughout the program (males, 14/1,070, 1.3%; females, 3/1,073, 0.3%). Forestomach hyperplasia occurred at increased incidences in dosed mice of either sex (males: 1/49, 7/48, 22/49; females: 1/50, 6/50, 17/48). The neoplasms and hyperplasia of the forestomach were probably related to administration of benzyl acetate.

In a separate metabolism study, benzyl acetate was absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract of rats and mice, with approximately 90% of the administered dose recovered as various metabolites in the urine within 24 hr. The primary metabolite was hippuric acid, with minor amounts of a mercapturic acid, and one or more unidentified metabolites. This capacity for absorption, metabolism, and disposition was unaffected by the amount or number of doses administered.

Benzyl acetate was not mutagenic in strains TA100, TA98, TA135, or TA137 of Salmonella typhimurium in the presence or absence of Aroclor 1254-induced Sprague-Dawley rat or Syrian hamster S9 when tested according to the preincubation protocol. Benzyl acetate did not induce sister-chromatid exchanges or chromosomal aberrations in Chinese hamster ovary cells in the presence or absence of Aroclor 1254-induced Sprague-Dawley rat liver S9. Benzyl acetate was mutagenic in the mouse lymphoma L5178Y/TK+/- assay in the presence, but not in the absence, of Aroclor 1254-induced Fisher 344 rat liver S9.

An audit was conducted on the experimental data and the draft technical report for these 2-year studies on benzyl acetate. Based on the results of this audit additional pathology examinations were conducted on all target organs in male rats and male and female mice. The Technical Report reflects these final pathology evaluations. The overall conclusions regarding the toxicology and carcinogenicity of benzyl acetate did not change as a result of this evaluation.

Under the conditions of these gavage studies, benzyl acetate increased the incidence of acinar-cell adenomas of the exocrine pancreas in male F344/N rats; the gavage vehicle may have been a contributing factor. There was no evidence of carcinogenicity for female F344/N rats. For male and female B6C3F1 mice there was some evidence of carcinogenicity in that benzyl acetate caused increased incidences of hepatocellular adenomas and squamous cell neoplasms of the forestomach.

Synonyms: alpha-acetoxytoluene; benzyl ethanoate; acetic acid, benzyl ester

Note: See subsequent Benzyl Acetate studies via gavage, TR-431, reported September 1993.

Report Date: August 1986

Target Organs & Incidences from 2-year Studies

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