National Toxicology Program

National Toxicology Program
https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/go/33555

Abstract for TR-560 - Androstenedione (CASRN 63-05-8)

TR-560
Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Androstenedione (CAS No. 63-05-8) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Gavage Studies)

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Abstract

Chemical Formula: C19H26O2-- Molecular Weight: 286.4

 Androstenedione is an androgen steroid that is normally synthesized within men and women and may be metabolized to a more potent androgen or estrogen hormone. It was nominated to the National Toxicology Program for study due to concern for adverse health effects associated with its chronic use as a dietary supplement by athletes (prior to the banning of its over the counter sales). In order to evaluate its subchronic and chronic toxicity, male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice were administered androstenedione (98% pure) by gavage for 2 weeks, 3 months, or 2 years. Genetic toxicology studies were conducted in Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli, rat bone marrow cells, and mouse peripheral blood erythrocytes.

2-WEEK STUDY IN RATS

Groups of five male and five female rats were administered 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for 12 days. All rats survived to the end of the study, and the mean body weights of dosed groups were similar to those of the vehicle control groups. The development of cytoplasmic vacuoles within centrilobular hepatocytes in male rats was the only treatment-related effect observed.

2-WEEK STUDY IN MICE

Groups of five male and five female mice were administered 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for 12 days. One vehicle control female, one 20 mg/kg female, and one 50 mg/kg female died early due to gavage accidents. There were no significant chemical-related histopathological or mean body weight changes.

3-MONTH STUDY IN RATS

Groups of 10 male and 10 female core study rats were administered 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for 14 weeks; additional groups of 10 male and 10 female clinical pathology study rats received the same doses for 23 days. All rats survived to the end of the study. The mean body weights of the 20 mg/kg female group was significantly greater than those of the vehicle control group and there was significant increased weight gain in the 1, 20, and 50 mg/kg female groups. Female thymus weights were significantly increased in the 20 and 50 mg/kg groups, which may be related to the increase in mean body weight. The numbers of sperm per mg cauda epididymis in the 10, 20, and 50 mg/kg male groups and the total number of sperm per cauda epididymis in 50 mg/kg males were significantly less than those of the vehicle controls. No treatment-related histological lesions were observed in males or females.

3-MONTH STUDY IN MICE

Groups of 10 male and 10 female mice were administered 0, 1, 5, 10, 20, or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for 14 weeks. Except for one 10 mg/kg female that died early due to a dosing accident, all mice survived to the end of the study. The mean body weights of dosed groups were similar to those of the vehicle control groups. The number of spermatids per mg testis and the total number of spermatids per testis in 20 mg/kg males were significantly greater than those of the vehicle controls. Sperm motility in 50 mg/kg males was significantly lower than that in the vehicle controls.

The incidences of x-zone atrophy of the adrenal cortex, an androgen-sensitive endpoint, were significantly increased in females administered 5 mg/kg or greater. There were also significant decreases in the incidences of x;-zone cytoplasmic vacuolization in 20 and 50 mg/kg females. The incidences of bone marrow hyperplasia were significantly increased in 5 and 50 mg/kg males.

2-YEAR STUDY IN RATS

Groups of 50 male and 50 female rats were administered 0, 10, 20, or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for at least 104 weeks. Survival of 10 mg/kg males was significantly greater than that of the vehicle controls. The mean body weights of 20 and 50 mg/kg females were greater than those of the vehicle controls after weeks 17 and 9, respectively.

The incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia were significantly increased in 20 and 50 mg/kg females and significantly decreased in 20 and 50 mg/kg males.

Incidences of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma and alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined) were significantly increased in 20 mg/kg males.

The incidence of testicular interstitial cell adenoma (including bilateral) was significantly decreased in 50 mg/kg males. In females, the incidences of mammary gland fibroadenoma were significantly decreased in the 20 and 50 mg/kg groups, the incidences of mammary gland hyperplasia were significantly decreased in all dosed groups, and the incidences of mammary gland cyst were significantly decreased in the 10 and 50 mg/kg groups.

In the liver of males, the incidences of basophilic focus in all dosed groups, the incidence of clear cell focus in the 20 mg/kg group, and the incidence of eosinophilic focus in the 50 mg/kg group were significantly increased.

The incidences of pancreatic islet hyperplasia and atrophy of the exocrine pancreas were significantly increased in 50 mg/kg females.

2-YEAR STUDY IN MICE

Groups of 50 male and 50 female mice were administered 0, 2 (females only), 10, 20 (males only), or 50 mg androstenedione/kg body weight in a 0.5% aqueous methylcellulose solution by gavage, 5 days per week for at least 104 weeks. Survival of dosed groups was similar to that of the vehicle control groups. Mean body weights of 10 and 50 mg/kg females were generally less than those of the vehicle controls after weeks 81 and 17, respectively.

The incidences of hepatocellular adenoma in males and females were significantly increased in the 50 mg/kg groups. In females, the incidences of hepatocellular carcinoma were significantly increased in all dosed groups. Incidences of hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in males and females were significantly increased in the 50 mg/kg groups. Incidences of hepatoblastoma were marginally increased in dosed males. Incidences of multiple hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas were significantly increased in 10 and 50 mg/kg males, and there was an increased incidence of multiple hepatocellular adenomas in 50 mg/kg females. The incidence of eosinophilic focus was significantly increased in 50 mg/kg males, and the incidences of mixed cell focus and cytoplasmic vacuolization were significantly increased in 50 mg/kg females.

There was a marginally increased incidence of pancreatic islet adenoma in 50 mg/kg males and in 10 and 50 mg/kg females, with an earlier day of first incidence in males. The incidences of clitoral gland hyperplasia and clitoral gland duct dilatation were significantly increased in 10 and 50 mg/kg females. The incidence of glomerular metaplasia of the kidney was significantly increased in 50 mg/kg females, and the incidences of cytoplasmic alteration of the submandibular salivary gland were significantly increased in all dosed female groups. The increased incidences of cytoplasmic alteration of the submandibular salivary gland and glomerular metaplasia of the kidney in female mice indicated a masculinizing effect from androstenedione treatment.

In 50 mg/kg females, the incidence of malignant lymphoma was significantly decreased.

GENETIC TOXICOLOGY

Androstenedione was not mutagenic in either of two independent bacterial mutation assays conducted with and without exogenous metabolic activation. No significant increases in the frequencies of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes, indicators of chromosomal damage, were observed in bone marrow of male rats administered androstenedione by gavage once daily for 3 consecutive days. Results of a peripheral blood erythrocyte micronucleus test in mice, in which androstenedione was administered by gavage for 3 months, were negative in males but judged to be equivocal in females due to a small increase (twofold over background) in micronucleated normochromatic erythrocytes observed at the highest dose administered (50 mg/kg).

CONCLUSIONS

Under the conditions of these 2-year gavage studies, there was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of androstenedione in male F344/N rats based on increased incidences of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma and alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined). There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of androstenedione in female F344/N rats based on increased incidences of mononuclear cell leukemia. There was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of androstenedione in male B6C3F1 mice based on increased incidences of multiple hepatocellular adenoma and hepatocellular carcinoma and increased incidence of hepatoblastoma. There was clear evidence of carcinogenic activity of androstenedione in female B6C3F1 mice based on increased incidences of hepatocellular adenoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Increased incidences of pancreatic islet adenoma in male and female mice were also considered chemical related.

Androstenedione administration caused increased incidences in nonneoplastic lesions of the liver in male  and female rats and mice; pancreatic islets and exocrine pancreas of female rats; and clitoral gland, kidney, and submandibular salivary gland of female mice.

Decreases in the incidences of testicular interstitial cell adenoma in male rats, mammary gland fibroadenoma, cysts, and hyperplasia in female rats, and malignant lymphoma in female mice were considered related to androstenedione administration.

Synonyms: Andro; androst-4-ene-3,17-dione; 4-androstene-3,17-dione; delta-4-androstene-3,17-dione; delta-4-androstenedione; 3,17-dioxoandrost-4-ene; 17-ketotestosterone; SKF 2170
Trade names: Androtex, Fecundin


Summary of the 2-Year Carcinogenesis and Genetic Toxicology Studies of Androstenedione
  Male
F344/N Rats
Female
F344/N Rats
Male
B6C3F1 Mice
Female
B6C3F1 Mice
Doses in methylcellulose solution by gavage 0, 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg 0, 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg 0, 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg 0, 10, 20, or 50 mg/kg
Body weights Dosed groups similar to the vehicle control group 20 mg/kg group 6% greater than the vehicle control group after week 17; 50 mg/kg group 7% greater than the vehicle control group after week 9 Dosed groups similar to vehicle control group 10 mg/kg group 7% less than the vehicle control group after week 81; 50 mg/kg group 7% less than the vehicle control group after week 17
Survival rates 21/50, 33/50, 29/50, 27/50 38/50, 37/50, 33/50, 37/50 36/50, 44/50, 34/50, 37/50 35/50, 40/50, 40/50, 40/50
Nonneoplastic effects Liver: basophilic focus (17/50, 29/50, 29/50, 33/50); clear cell focus (13/50, 21/50, 23/50, 17/50); eosinophilic focus (3/50, 10/50, 7/50, 13/50) Pancreatic islets: hyperplasia (0/50, 4/50, 1/50, 11/50)

Exocrine pancreas
: atrophy (10/50, 10/50, 16/50, 26/50)
Liver: eosinophilic focus (13/50, 10/50, 11/50, 25/50) Liver: mixed cell focus (2/50, 5/50, 7/50, 15/50); hepatocyte, cytoplasmic vacuolization (6/50, 3/50, 9/50, 22/50)

Clitoral gland
: hyperplasia (0/47, 2/47, 13/49, 41/50); duct dilatation (0/47, 2/47, 17/49, 49/50)

Kidney
: glomerulus, metaplasia (2/50, 1/50, 5/50, 27/50)

Submandibular salivary gland: cytoplasmic alteration (0/49, 17/49, 40/49, 45/50)
Neoplastic effects None None Liver: hepatocellular adenoma, multiple (16/50, 27/50, 23/50, 34/50); hepatocellular adenoma (includes multiples) (32/50, 38/50, 29/50, 43/50); hepatocellular carcinoma, multiple (7/50, 12/50, 10/50, 17/50); hepatocellular adenoma or hepatocellular carcinoma (combined; includes multiples) (41/50, 47/50, 42/50, 48/50); hepatoblastoma (3/50, 8/50, 7/50, 8/50); hepatocellular adenoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, or hepatoblastoma (combined) (41/50, 47/50, 43/50, 48/50)

Pancreatic islets
: adenoma (includes multiples) (2/50, 2/50, 2/50, 5/49)
Liver: hepatocellular adenoma (14/50, 16/50, 18/50, 28/50); hepatocellular carcinoma (5/50, 13/50, 15/50, 15/50); hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma (17/50, 23/50, 27/50, 32/50)

Pancreatic islets
: adenoma (0/49, 2/50, 4/49, 4/48)
Equivocal findings Lung: alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma (0/50, 0/50, 5/50, 2/50); alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined) (0/50, 0/50, 5/50, 3/50) Mononuclear cell leukemia: (5/50, 11/50, 18/50, 15/50) None None
Decreased incidences Testis: interstitial cell adenoma (42/50, 39/50, 36/50, 26/50) Mammary gland: fibroadenoma (35/50, 31/50, 22/50, 12/50) None Malignant lymphoma: (14/50, 15/50, 11/50, 2/50)
Level of evidence of carcinogenic activity Equivocal evidence Equivocal evidence Clear evidence Clear evidence
Genetic Toxicology
Assay Results
Salmonella typhimurium gene mutations: Negative in strains TA97, TA98, TA100, and TA1535 and in Escherichia coli WP2 uvrA/pKM101 with and without S9
Micronucleated erythrocytes
Rat bone marrow in vivo:
Negative in males
Mouse peripheral blood in vivo:
Negative in males; equivocal in females

Date: September 2010

Pathology Tables, Survival and Growth Curves from NTP 2-year Studies

Target Organs & Incidences from 2-year Studies

NTP is located at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.