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Keywords:

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

ABSTRACT

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. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. The World Health Organization retains copyright and all other rights in the manuscript of this article as submitted for publication.