Publications by authors named "Bettina Grasl-Kraupp"

93 Publications

Systemic PFOS and PFOA exposure and disturbed lipid homeostasis in humans: what do we know and what not?

Crit Rev Toxicol 2021 Apr 15:1-24. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Centre for Health Protection, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Associations between per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and increased blood lipids have been repeatedly observed in humans, but a causal relation has been debated. Rodent studies show reverse effects, i.e. decreased blood cholesterol and triglycerides, occurring however at PFAS serum levels at least 100-fold higher than those in humans. This paper aims to present the main issues regarding the modulation of lipid homeostasis by the two most common PFASs, PFOS and PFOA, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms relevant for humans. Overall, the apparent contrast between human and animal data may be an artifact of dose, with different molecular pathways coming into play upon exposure to PFASs at very low high levels. Altogether, the interpretation of existing rodent data on PFOS/PFOA-induced lipid perturbations with respect to the human situation is complex. From a mechanistic perspective, research on human liver cells shows that PFOS/PFOA activate the PPARα pathway, whereas studies on the involvement of other nuclear receptors, like PXR, are less conclusive. Other data indicate that suppression of the nuclear receptor HNF4α signaling pathway, as well as perturbations of bile acid metabolism and transport might be important cellular events that require further investigation. Future studies with human-relevant test systems would help to obtain more insight into the mechanistic pathways pertinent for humans. These studies shall be designed with a careful consideration of appropriate dosing and toxicokinetics, so as to enable biologically plausible quantitative extrapolations. Such research will increase the understanding of possible perturbed lipid homeostasis related to PFOS/ PFOA exposure and the potential implications for human health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10408444.2021.1888073DOI Listing
April 2021

Evaluation of the shucking of certain species of scallops contaminated with lipophilic toxins with a view to the production of edible parts meeting the safety requirements foreseen in the Union legislation.

EFSA J 2021 Mar 9;19(3):e06422. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

EFSA was asked by the European Commission to provide information on levels of lipophilic shellfish toxins in whole scallops that would ensure levels in edible parts below the regulatory limits after shucking, i.e. removal of non-edible parts. This should include the okadaic acid (OA), the azaspiracid (AZA) and the yessotoxin (YTX) groups, and five species of scallops. In addition, EFSA was asked to recommend the number of scallops in an analytical sample. To address these questions, EFSA received suitable data on the three toxin groups in two scallop species, and , i.e. data on individual and pooled samples of edible and non-edible parts from contamination incidents. The majority of the concentration levels were below limit of quantification (LOQ)/limit of detection (LOD), especially in adductor muscle but also in gonads. Shucking in most cases resulted in a strong decrease in the toxin levels. For , statistical analysis showed that levels in whole scallops should not exceed 256 μg OA eq/kg or 217 μg AZA1 eq/kg to ensure that levels in gonads are below the regulatory limits of 160 μg OA or AZA1 eq/kg with 99% certainty. Such an analysis was not possible for yessotoxins or any toxin in and an assessment could only be based on upper bound levels. To ensure a 95% correct prediction on whether the level in scallops in an area or lot is correctly predicted to be compliant/non-compliant, it was shown that 10 scallops per sample would be sufficient to predict with 95% certainty if levels of OA-group toxins in the area/lot were 25% below or above the regulatory limit. However, to predict with a 95% certainty for levels between 140 and 180 μg OA eq/kg, a pooled sample of more than 30 scallops would have to be tested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2021.6422DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7942228PMC
March 2021

Update of the risk assessment of hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs) in food.

EFSA J 2021 Mar 8;19(3):e06421. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

The European Commission asked EFSA to update its 2011 risk assessment on hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDDs) in food. HBCDDs, predominantly mixtures of the stereoisomers α-, β- and γ-HBCDD, were widely used additive flame retardants. Concern has been raised because of the occurrence of HBCDDs in the environment, food and in humans. Main targets for toxicity are neurodevelopment, the liver, thyroid hormone homeostasis and the reproductive and immune systems. The CONTAM Panel concluded that the neurodevelopmental effects on behaviour in mice can be considered the critical effects. Based on effects on spontaneous behaviour in mice, the Panel identified a lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) of 0.9 mg/kg body weight (bw) as the Reference Point, corresponding to a body burden of 0.75 mg/kg bw. The chronic intake that would lead to the same body burden in humans was calculated to be 2.35 μg/kg bw per day. The derivation of a health-based guidance value (HBGV) was not considered appropriate. Instead, the margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied to assess possible health concerns. Over 6,000 analytical results for HBCDDs in food were used to estimate the exposure across dietary surveys and age groups of the European population. The most important contributors to the chronic dietary LB exposure to HBCDDs were fish meat, eggs, livestock meat and poultry. The CONTAM Panel concluded that the resulting MOE values support the conclusion that current dietary exposure to HBCDDs across European countries does not raise a health concern. An exception is breastfed infants with high milk consumption, for which the lowest MOE values may raise a health concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2021.6421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938899PMC
March 2021

Update of the risk assessment of nickel in food and drinking water.

EFSA J 2020 Nov 5;18(11):e06268. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

The European Commission asked EFSA to update its previous Opinion on nickel in food and drinking water, taking into account new occurrence data, the updated benchmark dose (BMD) Guidance and newly available scientific information. More than 47,000 analytical results on the occurrence of nickel were used for calculating chronic and acute dietary exposure. An increased incidence of post-implantation loss in rats was identified as the critical effect for the risk characterisation of chronic oral exposure and a BMDL of 1.3 mg Ni/kg body weight (bw) per day was selected as the reference point for the establishment of a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 13 μg/kg bw. Eczematous flare-up reactions in the skin elicited in nickel-sensitised humans, a condition known as systemic contact dermatitis, was identified as the critical effect for the risk characterisation of acute oral exposure. A BMDL could not be derived, and therefore, the lowest-observed-adverse-effect-level of 4.3 μg Ni/kg bw was selected as the reference point. The margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied and an MOE of 30 or higher was considered as being indicative of a low health concern. The mean lower bound (LB)/upper bound (UB) chronic dietary exposure was below or at the level of the TDI. The 95th percentile LB/UB chronic dietary exposure was below the TDI in adolescents and in all adult age groups, but generally exceeded the TDI in toddlers and in other children, as well as in infants in some surveys. This may raise a health concern in these young age groups. The MOE values for the mean UB acute dietary exposure and for the 95th percentile UB raises a health concern for nickel-sensitised individuals. The MOE values for an acute scenario regarding consumption of a glass of water on an empty stomach do not raise a health concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6268DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7643711PMC
November 2020

Risk assessment of nitrate and nitrite in feed.

EFSA J 2020 Nov 4;18(11):e06290. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risks to animal health related to nitrite and nitrate in feed. For nitrate ion, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) identified a BMDL of 64 mg nitrate/kg body weight (bw) per day for adult cattle, based on methaemoglobin (MetHb) levels in animal's blood that would not induce clinical signs of hypoxia. The BMDL is applicable to all bovines, except for pregnant cows in which reproductive effects were not clearly associated with MetHb formation. Since the data available suggested that ovines and caprines are not more sensitive than bovines, the BMDL could also be applied to these species. Highest mean exposure estimates of 53 and 60 mg nitrate/kg bw per day in grass silage-based diets for beef cattle and fattening goats, respectively, may raise a health concern for ruminants when compared with the BMDL of 64 mg nitrate/kg bw per day. The concern may be higher because other forages might contain higher levels of nitrate. Highest mean exposure estimates of 2.0 mg nitrate/kg bw per day in pigs' feeds indicate a low risk for adverse health effects, when compared with an identified no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of 410 mg nitrate/kg bw per day, although the levels of exposure might be underestimated due to the absence of data on certain key ingredients in the diets of this species. Due to the limitations of the data available, the CONTAM Panel could not characterise the health risk in species other than ruminants and pigs from nitrate and in all livestock and companion animals from nitrite. Based on a limited data set, both the transfer of nitrate and nitrite from feed to food products of animal origin and the nitrate- and nitrite-mediated formation of N-nitrosamines and their transfer into these products are likely to be negligible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610142PMC
November 2020

Risk to human health related to the presence of perfluoroalkyl substances in food.

EFSA J 2020 Sep 17;18(9):e06223. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific evaluation on the risks to human health related to the presence of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in food. Based on several similar effects in animals, toxicokinetics and observed concentrations in human blood, the CONTAM Panel decided to perform the assessment for the sum of four PFASs: PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS and PFOS. These made up half of the lower bound (LB) exposure to those PFASs with available occurrence data, the remaining contribution being primarily from PFASs with short half-lives. Equal potencies were assumed for the four PFASs included in the assessment. The mean LB exposure in adolescents and adult age groups ranged from 3 to 22, the 95th percentile from 9 to 70 ng/kg body weight (bw) per week. Toddlers and 'other children' showed a twofold higher exposure. Upper bound exposure was 4- to 49-fold higher than LB levels, but the latter were considered more reliable. 'Fish meat', 'Fruit and fruit products' and 'Eggs and egg products' contributed most to the exposure. Based on available studies in animals and humans, effects on the immune system were considered the most critical for the risk assessment. From a human study, a lowest BMDL of 17.5 ng/mL for the sum of the four PFASs in serum was identified for 1-year-old children. Using PBPK modelling, this serum level of 17.5 ng/mL in children was estimated to correspond to long-term maternal exposure of 0.63 ng/kg bw per day. Since accumulation over time is important, a tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 4.4 ng/kg bw per week was established. This TWI also protects against other potential adverse effects observed in humans. Based on the estimated LB exposure, but also reported serum levels, the CONTAM Panel concluded that parts of the European population exceed this TWI, which is of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7507523PMC
September 2020

Risk assessment of aflatoxins in food.

EFSA J 2020 Mar 9;18(3):e06040. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

EFSA was asked to deliver a scientific opinion on the risks to public health related to the presence of aflatoxins in food. The risk assessment was confined to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), AFB2, AFG1, AFG2 and AFM1. More than 200,000 analytical results on the occurrence of aflatoxins were used in the evaluation. Grains and grain-based products made the largest contribution to the mean chronic dietary exposure to AFB1 in all age classes, while 'liquid milk' and 'fermented milk products' were the main contributors to the AFM1 mean exposure. Aflatoxins are genotoxic and AFB1 can cause hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) in humans. The CONTAM Panel selected a benchmark dose lower confidence limit (BMDL) for a benchmark response of 10% of 0.4 μg/kg body weight (bw) per day for the incidence of HCC in male rats following AFB1 exposure to be used in a margin of exposure (MOE) approach. The calculation of a BMDL from the human data was not appropriate; instead, the cancer potencies estimated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives in 2016 were used. For AFM1, a potency factor of 0.1 relative to AFB1 was used. For AFG1, AFB2 and AFG2, the data are not sufficient to derive potency factors and equal potency to AFB1 was assumed as in previous assessments. MOE values for AFB1 exposure ranged from 5,000 to 29 and for AFM1 from 100,000 to 508. The calculated MOEs are below 10,000 for AFB1 and also for AFM1 where some surveys, particularly for the younger age groups, have an MOE below 10,000. This raises a health concern. The estimated cancer risks in humans following exposure to AFB1 and AFM1 are in-line with the conclusion drawn from the MOEs. The conclusions also apply to the combined exposure to all five aflatoxins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447885PMC
March 2020

Risk assessment of chlorinated paraffins in feed and food.

EFSA J 2020 Mar 9;18(3):e05991. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and human health related to the presence of chlorinated paraffins in feed and food. The data for experimental animals were reviewed and the CONTAM Panel identified the liver, kidney and thyroid as the target organs for the SCCP and MCCP mixtures tested in repeated dose toxicity studies. Decreased pup survival and subcutaneous haematoma/haemorrhage were also identified as critical effects for an MCCP mixture. For the LCCP mixtures tested, the liver was identified as the target organ. The Panel selected as reference points a BMDL of 2.3 mg/kg bw per day for increased incidence of nephritis in male rats, and of 36 mg/kg bw per day for increased relative kidney weights in male and female rats for SCCPs and MCCPs, respectively. For LCCPs, a reference point relevant for humans could not be identified. Due to the limitations in the toxicokinetic and toxicological database, the Panel concluded that derivation of a health-based guidance value was not appropriate. Only limited data on the occurrence of SCCPs and MCCPs in some fish species were submitted to EFSA. No data were submitted for LCCPs. Thus, a robust exposure assessment and consequently a complete risk characterisation could not be performed. A preliminary risk characterisation based only on the consumption of fish was performed, and the calculated margins of exposure suggested no health concern for this limited scenario. The Panel noted that dietary exposure will be higher due to the contribution of CPs from other foods. The Panel was not able to identify reference points for farm animals, horses and companion animals. No occurrence data for feed were submitted to EFSA. Therefore, no risk characterisation could be performed for any of these animal species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.5991DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447893PMC
March 2020

Risk assessment of glycoalkaloids in feed and food, in particular in potatoes and potato-derived products.

EFSA J 2020 Aug 11;18(8):e06222. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and human health related to the presence of glycoalkaloids (GAs) in feed and food. This risk assessment covers edible parts of potato plants and other food plants containing GAs, in particular, tomato and aubergine. In humans, acute toxic effects of potato GAs (α-solanine and α-chaconine) include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. For these effects, the CONTAM Panel identified a lowest-observed-adverse-effect level of 1 mg total potato GAs/kg body weight (bw) per day as a reference point for the risk characterisation following acute exposure. In humans, no evidence of health problems associated with repeated or long-term intake of GAs via potatoes has been identified. No reference point for chronic exposure could be identified from the experimental animal studies. Occurrence data were available only for α-solanine and α-chaconine, mostly for potatoes. The acute dietary exposure to potato GAs was estimated using a probabilistic approach and applying processing factors for food. Due to the limited data available, a margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied. The MOEs for the younger age groups indicate a health concern for the food consumption surveys with the highest mean exposure, as well as for the P95 exposure in all surveys. For adult age groups, the MOEs indicate a health concern only for the food consumption surveys with the highest P95 exposures. For tomato and aubergine GAs, the risk to human health could not be characterised due to the lack of occurrence data and the limited toxicity data. For horses, farm and companion animals, no risk characterisation for potato GAs could be performed due to insufficient data on occurrence in feed and on potential adverse effects of GAs in these species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2020.6222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7417869PMC
August 2020

Evaluation of calcium lignosulfonate as a acceptable previous cargo for edible fats and oils.

EFSA J 2019 Dec 23;17(12):e05951. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Shipping of edible fats and oils into Europe is permitted in bulk tanks, provided that the previous cargo is included in a positive list. The European Commission requested EFSA to evaluate the acceptability of calcium lignosulfonate as previous cargo for fats and oils. The evaluation was based on the same criteria as those used for the evaluation of the substances currently on the list in the Annex to Commission Directive 96/3/EC as a acceptable previous cargoes for edible fats and oils. In 2017, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) concluded that calcium lignosulfonate did not meet the acceptability criteria, due to uncertainties as regards the composition and toxicity of its low-molecular weight fraction (LMWF) below 1,000 Da. In the current evaluation, new information, showing lack of genotoxicity of the LMWF isolated from a technical grade of calcium lignosulfonate was provided. Due to uncertainties regarding the presence of lignosulfonate components below 200 Da in this LMWF tested for genotoxicity, the CONTAM Panel concluded that the information provided was insufficient to assess the acceptability of calcium lignosulfonate as previous cargo. The Panel recommends a better analysis of the LMWF and a new genotoxicity test using this LMWF, including components < 200 Da, and evidence that the tested material is representative of the LMWF in products intended to be shipped as previous cargo for edible fat and oils.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008875PMC
December 2019

Scientific opinion on the risks for animal and human health related to the presence of quinolizidine alkaloids in feed and food, in particular in lupins and lupin-derived products.

EFSA J 2019 Nov 5;17(11):e05860. Epub 2019 Nov 5.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and human health related to the presence of quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs) in feed and food. This risk assessment is limited to QAs occurring in s species/varieties relevant for animal and human consumption in Europe (i.e. L., L., L. and Sweet). Information on the toxicity of QAs in animals and humans is limited. Following acute exposure to sparteine (reference compound), anticholinergic effects and changes in cardiac electric conductivity are considered to be critical for human hazard characterisation. The CONTAM Panel used a margin of exposure (MOE) approach identifying a lowest single oral effective dose of 0.16 mg sparteine/kg body weight as reference point to characterise the risk following acute exposure. No reference point could be identified to characterise the risk of chronic exposure. Because of similar modes of action for QAs, the CONTAM Panel used a group approach assuming dose additivity. For food, the highest mean concentration of Total QAs (TotQAs) (i.e. the 6 most abundant QAs) was found in lupin seed samples classified as 'Lupins (dry) and similar-'. Due to the limited data on occurrence and consumption, dietary exposure was calculated for some specific scenarios and no full human health risk characterisation was possible. The calculated margin of exposures (MOEs) may indicate a risk for some consumers. For example, when lupin seeds are consumed without a debittering step, or as debittered lupin seeds high in QA content and when 'lupin-based meat imitates' are consumed. For horses, companion and farm animals, other than salmonids, the available database on adverse effects was too limited to identify no-observed-adverse-effect levels and/or lowest-observed-adverse-effect levels and no risk characterisation was possible. For salmonids, the CONTAM Panel considers the risk for adverse effects to be low.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5860DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008800PMC
November 2019

Interaction of FGF9 with FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc, a putative driver of growth and aggressive behaviour of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Liver Int 2020 09 17;40(9):2279-2290. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Department of Medicine I, Division: Institute of Cancer Research, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Background & Aims: Recently, overexpression of the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) splice variants FGFR3-IIIb and FGFR3-IIIc was found in ~50% of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, we aim to identify FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligands, which drive the progression of HCC.

Methods: FACS, MTT assay and/or growth curves served to identify the FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligand being most effective to induce growth of hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cell lines, established from human HCC. The most potent FGF was characterized regarding the expression levels in epithelial and stromal cells of liver and HCC and impact on neoangiogenesis, clonogenicity and invasive growth of hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells.

Results: Among all FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc ligands tested, FGF9 was the most potent growth factor for hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells. Replication and/or sprouting of blood/lymphendothelial cells was stimulated as well. FGF9 occurred mainly in stromal cells of unaltered liver but in epithelial cells of HCC. Every fifth HCC exhibited overexpressed FGF9 and frequent co-upregulation of FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc. In hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells FGF9 enhanced the capability for clonogenicity and disintegration of the blood and lymphatic endothelium, being most pronounced in cells overexpressing FGFR3-IIIb or FGFR3-IIIc, respectively. Any of the FGF9 effects in hepatoma/hepatocarcinoma cells was blocked completely by applying the FGFR1-3-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor BGJ398 or siFGFR3, while siFGFR1/2/4 were mostly ineffective.

Conclusions: FGF9 acts via FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc to enhance growth and aggressiveness of HCC cells. Accordingly, blockade of the FGF9-FGFR3-IIIb/IIIc axis may be an efficient therapeutic option for HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14505DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496895PMC
September 2020

Correction: Fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 induced resistance to radiation therapy in colorectal cancer.

Oncotarget 2019 Sep 3;10(51):5385-5386. Epub 2019 Sep 3.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.12099.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6731104PMC
September 2019

Expression of FGFR1-4 in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Tissue and Corresponding Cell Lines and its Relationship to Patient Survival and FGFR Inhibitor Sensitivity.

Cells 2019 09 16;8(9). Epub 2019 Sep 16.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a devastating malignancy with limited therapeutic options. Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR) and their ligands were shown to contribute to MPM aggressiveness and it was suggested that subgroups of MPM patients could benefit from FGFR-targeted inhibitors. In the current investigation, we determined the expression of all four FGFRs (FGFR1-FGFR4) by immunohistochemistry in tissue samples from 94 MPM patients. From 13 of these patients, we were able to establish stable cell lines, which were subjected to FGFR1-4 staining, transcript analysis by quantitative RT-PCR, and treatment with the FGFR inhibitor infigratinib. While FGFR1 and FGFR2 were widely expressed in MPM tissue and cell lines, FGFR3 and FGFR4 showed more restricted expression. FGFR1 and FGFR2 showed no correlation with clinicopathologic data or patient survival, but presence of FGFR3 in 42% and of FGFR4 in 7% of patients correlated with shorter overall survival. Immunostaining in cell lines was more homogenous than in the corresponding tissue samples. Neither transcript nor protein expression of FGFR1-4 correlated with response to infigratinib treatment in MPM cell lines. We conclude that FGFR3 and FGFR4, but not FGFR1 or FGFR2, have prognostic significance in MPM and that FGFR expression is not sufficient to predict FGFR inhibitor response in MPM cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells8091091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769772PMC
September 2019

Analysis of Liver Cancer Cell Lines Identifies Agents With Likely Efficacy Against Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Markers of Response.

Gastroenterology 2019 09 4;157(3):760-776. Epub 2019 May 4.

Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, Sorbonne Université, Inserm, UMRS-1138, F-75006 Paris, France; Functional Genomics of Solid Tumors, USPC, Université Paris Descartes, Université Paris Diderot, Université Paris 13, Labex Immuno-Oncology, équipe labellisée Ligue Contre le Cancer, F-75000 Paris, France. Electronic address:

Background And Aims: Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are heterogeneous aggressive tumors with low rates of response to treatment at advanced stages. We screened a large panel of liver cancer cell lines (LCCLs) to identify agents that might be effective against HCC and markers of therapeutic response.

Methods: We performed whole-exome RNA and microRNA sequencing and quantification of 126 proteins in 34 LCCLs. We screened 31 anticancer agents for their ability to decrease cell viability. We compared genetic, RNA, and protein profiles of LCCLs with those of primary HCC samples and searched for markers of response.

Results: The protein, RNA and mutational signatures of the LCCLs were similar to those of the proliferation class of HCC, which is the most aggressive tumor type. Cell lines with alterations in genes encoding members of the Ras-MAPK signaling pathway and that required fibroblast growth factor (FGF)19 signaling via FGF receptor 4 for survival were more sensitive to trametinib than to FGF receptor 4 inhibitors. Amplification of FGF19 resulted in increased activity of FGF19 only in tumor cells that kept a gene expression pattern of hepatocyte differentiation. We identified single agents and combinations of agents that reduced viability of cells with features of the progenitor subclass of HCC. LCCLs with inactivating mutations in TSC1 and TSC2 were sensitive to the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor rapamycin, and cells with inactivating mutations in TP53 were sensitive to the Aurora kinase A inhibitor alisertib. Amplification of MET was associated with hypersensitivity to cabozantinib and the combination of sorafenib and inhibitors of MAP kinase 1 and MAP kinase2 had a synergistic antiproliferative effect.

Conclusion: LCCLs can be screened for drugs and agents that might be effective for treatment of HCC. We identified genetic alterations and gene expression patterns associated with response to these agents. This information might be used to select patients for clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.05.001DOI Listing
September 2019

Evaluation of the health risks related to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides in foods other than raw apricot kernels.

EFSA J 2019 Apr 11;17(4):e05662. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

In 2016, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) published a scientific opinion on the acute health risks related to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides (CNGs) in raw apricot kernels in which an acute reference dose (ARfD) of 20 μg/kg body weight (bw) was established for cyanide (CN). In the present opinion, the CONTAM Panel concluded that this ARfD is applicable for acute effects of CN regardless the dietary source. To account for differences in cyanide bioavailability after ingestion of certain food items, specific factors were used. Estimated mean acute dietary exposures to cyanide from foods containing CNGs did not exceed the ARfD in any age group. At the 95th percentile, the ARfD was exceeded up to about 2.5-fold in some surveys for children and adolescent age groups. The main contributors to exposures were biscuits, juice or nectar and pastries and cakes that could potentially contain CNGs. Taking into account the conservatism in the exposure assessment and in derivation of the ARfD, it is unlikely that this estimated exceedance would result in adverse effects. The limited data from animal and human studies do not allow the derivation of a chronic health-based guidance value (HBGV) for cyanide, and thus, chronic risks could not be assessed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5662DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009189PMC
April 2019

Risk to human health related to the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid in food.

EFSA J 2018 Dec 13;16(12):e05194. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific evaluation on the risks to human health related to the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in food. Regarding PFOS and PFOA occurrence, the final data set available for dietary exposure assessment contained a total of 20,019 analytical results (PFOS n = 10,191 and PFOA n = 9,828). There were large differences between upper and lower bound exposure due to analytical methods with insufficient sensitivity. The CONTAM Panel considered the lower bound estimates to be closer to true exposure levels. Important contributors to the lower bound mean chronic exposure were 'Fish and other seafood', 'Meat and meat products' and 'Eggs and egg products', for PFOS, and 'Milk and dairy products', 'Drinking water' and 'Fish and other seafood' for PFOA. PFOS and PFOA are readily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, excreted in urine and faeces, and do not undergo metabolism. Estimated human half-lives for PFOS and PFOA are about 5 years and 2-4 years, respectively. The derivation of a health-based guidance value was based on human epidemiological studies. For PFOS, the increase in serum total cholesterol in adults, and the decrease in antibody response at vaccination in children were identified as the critical effects. For PFOA, the increase in serum total cholesterol was the critical effect. Also reduced birth weight (for both compounds) and increased prevalence of high serum levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (for PFOA) were considered. After benchmark modelling of serum levels of PFOS and PFOA, and estimating the corresponding daily intakes, the CONTAM Panel established a tolerable weekly intake (TWI) of 13 ng/kg body weight (bw) per week for PFOS and 6 ng/kg bw per week for PFOA. For both compounds, exposure of a considerable proportion of the population exceeds the proposed TWIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5194DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009575PMC
December 2018

Risk for animal and human health related to the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in feed and food.

EFSA J 2018 Nov 20;16(11):e05333. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and human health related to the presence of dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and DL-PCBs in feed and food. The data from experimental animal and epidemiological studies were reviewed and it was decided to base the human risk assessment on effects observed in humans and to use animal data as supportive evidence. The critical effect was on semen quality, following pre- and postnatal exposure. The critical study showed a NOAEL of 7.0 pg WHO-TEQ/g fat in blood sampled at age 9 years based on PCDD/F-TEQs. No association was observed when including DL-PCB-TEQs. Using toxicokinetic modelling and taking into account the exposure from breastfeeding and a twofold higher intake during childhood, it was estimated that daily exposure in adolescents and adults should be below 0.25 pg TEQ/kg bw/day. The CONTAM Panel established a TWI of 2 pg TEQ/kg bw/week. With occurrence and consumption data from European countries, the mean and P95 intake of total TEQ by Adolescents, Adults, Elderly and Very Elderly varied between, respectively, 2.1 to 10.5, and 5.3 to 30.4 pg TEQ/kg bw/week, implying a considerable exceedance of the TWI. Toddlers and Other Children showed a higher exposure than older age groups, but this was accounted for when deriving the TWI. Exposure to PCDD/F-TEQ only was on average 2.4- and 2.7-fold lower for mean and P95 exposure than for total TEQ. PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs are transferred to milk and eggs, and accumulate in fatty tissues and liver. Transfer rates and bioconcentration factors were identified for various species. The CONTAM Panel was not able to identify reference values in most farm and companion animals with the exception of NOAELs for mink, chicken and some fish species. The estimated exposure from feed for these species does not imply a risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5333DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009407PMC
November 2018

FGF8 induces therapy resistance in neoadjuvantly radiated rectal cancer.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2019 Jan 1;145(1):77-86. Epub 2018 Oct 1.

Department of Surgery, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Purpose: Therapy response to neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (nRCT) of locally advanced rectal cancer varies widely so that markers predicting response are urgently needed. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and FGF receptor (FGFR) signaling is involved in pro-survival signaling and thereby may result in radiation resistance.

Methods: In a cohort of 43 rectal cancer patients, who received nRCT, we analyzed protein levels of FGF 8 and its downstream target Survivin by immunohistochemistry to assess their impact on nRCT response. In vitro resistance models were created by exposing colorectal cancer cell lines to fractionated irradiation and selecting long-term survivors.

Results: Our findings revealed significantly higher FGF8 and Survivin staining scores in pre-treatment biopsies as well as in surgical specimens of non-responsive compared to responsive patients. Functional studies demonstrated dose-dependent induction of FGF8 mRNA expression in mismatch-incompetent DLD1 cells already after one dose of irradiation. Surviving clones after one or two series of radiation were more resistant to an additional radiation fraction than non-irradiated controls and showed a significant increase in expression of the FGF8 receptor FGFR3 and of Survivin on both the RNA and the protein levels.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that FGF8 and Survivin contribute to radiation resistance in rectal cancer and may serve as markers to select patients who may not benefit from neoadjuvant radiotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-018-2757-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326005PMC
January 2019

Risk to human and animal health related to the presence of 4,15-diacetoxyscirpenol in food and feed.

EFSA J 2018 Aug 16;16(8):e05367. Epub 2018 Aug 16.

4,15-Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS) is a mycotoxin primarily produced by fungi and occurring predominantly in cereal grains. As requested by the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) assessed the risk of DAS to human and animal health related to its presence in food and feed. Very limited information was available on toxicity and on toxicokinetics in experimental and farm animals. Due to the limitations in the available data set, human acute and chronic health-based guidance values (HBGV) were established based on data obtained in clinical trials of DAS as an anticancer agent (anguidine) after intravenous administration to cancer patients. The CONTAM Panel considered these data as informative for the hazard characterisation of DAS after oral exposure. The main adverse effects after acute and repeated exposure were emesis, with a no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of 32 μg DAS/kg body weight (bw), and haematotoxicity, with a NOAEL of 65 μg DAS/kg bw, respectively. An acute reference dose (ARfD) of 3.2 μg DAS/kg bw and a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.65 μg DAS/kg bw were established. Based on over 15,000 occurrence data, the highest acute and chronic dietary exposures were estimated to be 0.8 and 0.49 μg DAS/kg bw per day, respectively, and were not of health concern for humans. The limited information for poultry, pigs and dogs indicated a low risk for these animals at the estimated DAS exposure levels under current feeding practices, with the possible exception of fattening chicken. Assuming similar or lower sensitivity than for poultry, the risk was considered overall low for other farm and companion animal species for which no toxicity data were available. In consideration of the similarities of several trichothecenes and the likelihood of co-exposure via food and feed, it could be appropriate to perform a cumulative risk assessment for this group of substances.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5367DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009455PMC
August 2018

Update: methodological principles and scientific methods to be taken into account when establishing Reference Points for Action (RPAs) for non-allowed pharmacologically active substances present in food of animal origin.

EFSA J 2018 Jul 24;16(7):e05332. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

EFSA was asked by the European Commission to update the Scientific Opinion on methodological principles and scientific methods to be taken into account when establishing Reference Points for Action (RPAs) for non-allowed pharmacologically active substances in food of animal origin. This guidance document presents a simple and pragmatic approach which takes into account both analytical and toxicological considerations. The RPA shall be based on the reasonably achievable lowest residue concentration that can unequivocally be determined by official control laboratories, i.e. the reasonably achievable lowest decision limit (CCα). The aim is to check whether this concentration is low enough to adequately protect the consumers of food commodities that contain that substance. The proposed step-wise approach applies toxicological screening values (TSVs), based on genotoxic potential, pharmacological activity, as well as other effects of the substance. The highest dietary exposure corresponding to the reasonably achievable lowest CCα for the substance has to be estimated and compared with the TSV. Where equal to or lower than the TSV, the reasonably achievable lowest CCα can be accepted as the RPA. If higher, the sensitivity of the analytical method needs to be improved. In the case where no further analytical improvements are feasible within a short to medium time frame, a substance-specific risk assessment should be considered. This also applies when the potential adverse effects do not allow use of the decision tree, as for high potency carcinogens, inorganic substances or compounds with allergenic effects or causing blood dyscrasias. The CONTAM Panel concluded that RPAs should be food matrix independent. RPAs cannot be applied to non-edible matrices, which are also monitored for non-allowed pharmacologically active substances.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009670PMC
July 2018

Risks for animal health related to the presence of fumonisins, their modified forms and hidden forms in feed.

EFSA J 2018 May 25;16(5):e05242. Epub 2018 May 25.

Fumonisins, mycotoxins primarily produced by and , occur predominantly in cereal grains, especially in maize. The European Commission asked EFSA for a scientific opinion on the risk to animal health related to fumonisins and their modified and hidden forms in feed. Fumonisin B (FB ), FB and FB are the most common forms of fumonisins in feedstuffs and thus were included in the assessment. FB , FB and FB have the same mode of action and were considered as having similar toxicological profile and potencies. For fumonisins, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) identified no-observed-adverse-effect levels (NOAELs) for cattle, pig, poultry (chicken, ducks and turkeys), horse, and lowest-observed-adverse-effect levels (LOAELs) for fish (extrapolated from carp) and rabbits. No reference points could be identified for sheep, goats, dogs, cats and mink. The dietary exposure was estimated on 18,140 feed samples on FB representing most of the feed commodities with potential presence of fumonisins. Samples were collected between 2003 and 2016 from 19 different European countries, but most of them from four Member States. To take into account the possible occurrence of hidden forms, an additional factor of 1.6, derived from the literature, was applied to the occurrence data. Modified forms of fumonisins, for which no data were identified concerning both the occurrence and the toxicity, were not included in the assessment. Based on mean exposure estimates, the risk of adverse health effects of feeds containing FB was considered very low for ruminants, low for poultry, horse, rabbits, fish and of potential concern for pigs. The same conclusions apply to the sum of FB and their hidden forms, except for pigs for which the risk of adverse health effect was considered of concern.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009563PMC
May 2018

Update of the Scientific Opinion on opium alkaloids in poppy seeds.

EFSA J 2018 May 16;16(5):e05243. Epub 2018 May 16.

Poppy seeds are obtained from the opium poppy L.). They are used as food and to produce edible oil. The opium poppy plant contains narcotic alkaloids such as morphine and codeine. Poppy seeds do not contain the opium alkaloids, but can become contaminated with alkaloids as a result of pest damage and during harvesting. The European Commission asked EFSA to provide an update of the Scientific Opinion on opium alkaloids in poppy seeds. The assessment is based on data on morphine, codeine, thebaine, oripavine, noscapine and papaverine in poppy seed samples. The CONTAM Panel confirms the acute reference dose (ARfD) of 10 μg morphine/kg body weight (bw) and concluded that the concentration of codeine in the poppy seed samples should be taken into account by converting codeine to morphine equivalents, using a factor of 0.2. The ARfD is therefore a group ARfD for morphine and codeine, expressed in morphine equivalents. Mean and high levels of dietary exposure to morphine equivalents from poppy seeds considered to have high levels of opium alkaloids (i.e. poppy seeds from varieties primarily grown for pharmaceutical use) exceed the ARfD in most age groups. For poppy seeds considered to have relatively low concentrations of opium alkaloids (i.e. primarily varieties for food use), some exceedance of the ARfD is also seen at high levels of dietary exposure in most surveys. For noscapine and papaverine, the available data do not allow making a hazard characterisation. However, comparison of the dietary exposure to the recommended therapeutical doses does not suggest a health concern for these alkaloids. For thebaine and oripavine, no risk characterisation was done due to insufficient data. However, for thebaine, limited evidence indicates a higher acute lethality than for morphine and the estimated exposure could present a health risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009406PMC
May 2018

FGF2 and EGF induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition in malignant pleural mesothelioma cells via a MAPKinase/MMP1 signal.

Carcinogenesis 2018 04;39(4):534-545

Translational Thoracic Oncology Laboratory, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an aggressive malignancy affecting pleural surfaces, occurs in three main histological subtypes. The epithelioid and sarcomatoid subtypes are characterized by cuboid and fibroblastoid cells, respectively. The biphasic subtype contains a mixture of both. The sarcomatoid subtype expresses markers of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and confers the worst prognosis, but the signals and pathways controlling EMT in MPM are not well understood. We demonstrate that treatment with FGF2 or EGF induced a fibroblastoid morphology in several cell lines from biphasic MPM, accompanied by scattering, decreased cell adhesion and increased invasiveness. This depended on the MAP-kinase pathway but was independent of TGFβ or PI3-kinase signaling. In addition to changes in known EMT markers, microarray analysis demonstrated differential expression of MMP1, ESM1, ETV4, PDL1 and BDKR2B in response to both growth factors and in epithelioid versus sarcomatoid MPM. Inhibition of MMP1 prevented FGF2-induced scattering and invasiveness. Moreover, in MPM cells with sarcomatoid morphology, inhibition of FGF/MAP-kinase signaling induced a more epithelioid morphology and gene expression pattern. Our findings suggest a critical role of the MAP-kinase axis in the morphological and behavioral plasticity of mesothelioma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgy018DOI Listing
April 2018

Model Prediction and Validation of an Order Mechanism Controlling the Spatiotemporal Phenotype of Early Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Bull Math Biol 2018 05 22;80(5):1134-1171. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

INRIA de Paris, 2 Rue Simone IFF, 75012, Paris, France.

Recently, hepatocyte-sinusoid alignment (HSA) has been identified as a mechanism that supports the coordination of hepatocytes during liver regeneration to reestablish a functional micro-architecture (Hoehme et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci 107(23):10371-10376, 2010). HSA means that hepatocytes preferentially align along the closest micro-vessels. Here, we studied whether this mechanism is still active in early hepatocellular tumors. The same agent-based spatiotemporal model that previously correctly predicted HSA in liver regeneration was further developed to simulate scenarios in early tumor development, when individual initiated hepatocytes gain increased proliferation capacity. The model simulations were performed under conditions of realistic liver micro-architectures obtained from 3D reconstructions of confocal laser scanning micrographs. Interestingly, the established model predicted that initiated hepatocytes at first arrange in elongated patterns. Only when the tumor progresses to cell numbers of approximately 4000, does it adopt spherical structures. This prediction may have relevant consequences, since elongated tumors may reach critical structures faster, such as larger vessels, compared to a spherical tumor of similar cell number. Interestingly, this model prediction was confirmed by analysis of the spatial organization of initiated hepatocytes in a rat liver tumor initiation study using single doses of 250 mg/kg of the genotoxic carcinogen N-nitrosomorpholine (NNM). Indeed, small clusters of GST-P positive cells induced by NNM were elongated, almost columnar, while larger GDT-P positive foci of approximately the size of liver lobuli adopted spherical shapes. From simulations testing numerous possible mechanisms, only HSA could explain the experimentally observed initial deviation from spherical shape. The present study demonstrates that the architecture of small cell clusters of hepatocytes early after initiation is still controlled by physiological mechanisms. However, this coordinating influence is lost when the tumor grows to approximately 4000 cells, leading to further growth in spherical shape. Our findings stress the potential importance of organ micro-architecture in understanding tumor phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11538-017-0375-1DOI Listing
May 2018

Risks to human and animal health related to the presence of moniliformin in food and feed.

EFSA J 2018 Mar 2;16(3):e05082. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Moniliformin (MON) is a mycotoxin with low molecular weight primarily produced by fungi and occurring predominantly in cereal grains. Following a request of the European Commission, the CONTAM Panel assessed the risk of MON to human and animal health related to its presence in food and feed. The limited information available on toxicity and on toxicokinetics in experimental and farm animals indicated haematotoxicity and cardiotoxicity as major adverse health effects of MON. MON causes chromosome aberrations but no genotoxicity data and no carcinogenicity data were identified. Due to the limitations in the available toxicity data, human acute or chronic health-based guidance values (HBGV) could not be established. The margin of exposure (MOE) between the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of 6.0 mg/kg body weight (bw) for cardiotoxicity from a subacute study in rats and the acute upper bound (UB) dietary exposure estimates ranged between 4,000 and 73,000. The MOE between the lowest benchmark dose lower confidence limit (for a 5% response - BMDL) of 0.20 mg MON/kg bw per day for haematological hazards from a 28-day study in pigs and the chronic dietary human exposure estimates ranged between 370 and 5,000,000 for chronic dietary exposures. These MOEs indicate a low risk for human health but were associated with high uncertainty. The toxicity data available for poultry, pigs, and mink indicated a low or even negligible risk for these animals from exposure to MON in feed at the estimated exposure levels under current feeding practices. Assuming similar or lower sensitivity as for pigs, the CONTAM Panel considered a low or even negligible risk for the other animal species for which no toxicity data suitable for hazard characterisation were identified. Additional toxicity studies are needed and depending on their outcome, the collection of more occurrence data on MON in food and feed is recommended to enable a comprehensive human risk assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009678PMC
March 2018

Appropriateness to set a group health-based guidance value for fumonisins and their modified forms.

EFSA J 2018 Feb 23;16(2):e05172. Epub 2018 Feb 23.

The EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for fumonisin B (FB ) of 1.0 μg/kg body weight (bw) per day based on increased incidence of megalocytic hepatocytes found in a chronic study with mice. The CONTAM Panel considered the limited data available on toxicity and mode of action and structural similarities of FB and found it appropriate to include FB , FB and FB in a group TDI with FB . Modified forms of FBs are phase I and phase II metabolites formed in fungi, infested plants or farm animals. Modified forms also arise from food or feed processing, and include covalent adducts with matrix constituents. Non-covalently bound forms are not considered as modified forms. Modified forms of FBs identified are hydrolysed FB (HFB ), partially hydrolysed FB (pHFB ), -(carboxymethyl)-FB (NCM-FB ), -(1-deoxy-d-fructos-1-yl)-FB (NDF-FB ), -fatty acyl FB , -fatty acyl FB and -palmitoyl-HFB . HFB , pHFB , NCM-FB and NDF-FB show a similar toxicological profile but are less potent than FB . Although data shows that -fatty acyl FBs are more toxic than FB , no data were available for -fatty acyl FBs and -fatty acyl FBs. The CONTAM Panel concluded that it was not appropriate to include modified FBs in the group TDI for FB . The uncertainty associated with the present assessment is high, but could be reduced provided more data are made available on occurrence, toxicokinetics and toxicity of FB and modified forms of FB .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009576PMC
February 2018

Assessment of a decontamination process for dioxins and PCBs from fish meal by replacement of fish oil.

EFSA J 2018 Feb 12;16(2):e05174. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) provided a scientific opinion on the assessment of a decontamination process of fish meal. It consisted of extraction of the fish oil, filtration and adsorption with activated carbon, and replacement with decontaminated fish oil in order to reduce the amount of dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo--dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)), and dioxin-like (DL-) and non-dioxin-like (NDL-) polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). All feed decontamination processes must comply with the acceptability criteria specified in the Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786. Data provided by the feed business operator were assessed for efficacy of the process and to demonstrate that the process did not adversely affect the characteristics and the nature of the product. The process was effective in removing PCDD/Fs (97%) and DL- and NDL-PCBs (93%). The fish meal produced complied with EU regulations for these contaminants. The Panel considered that the reference to information available in published literature was a pragmatic approach to demonstrate that the replacement of fish oil and the use of activated carbon to adsorb these contaminants does not lead to any detrimental changes in the nature of the fish meal. However, it was noted that the process could deplete some beneficial constituents (e.g. oil-soluble vitamins). Information was provided to demonstrate the safe disposal of the waste material. The CONTAM Panel concluded that on the basis of the information submitted by the feed business operator the proposed decontamination process to remove dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and PCBs from the fish meal by oil extraction followed by replacement with decontaminated fish oil, was compliant with the acceptability criteria provided for in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786 of 19 May 2015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009759PMC
February 2018

Assessment of a decontamination process for dioxins and PCBs from fish meal by hexane extraction and replacement of fish oil.

EFSA J 2018 Feb 12;16(2):e05173. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) provided a scientific opinion on the assessment of a decontamination process for fish meal. This process entails solvent (hexane) extraction of fish oil from fish meal to remove dioxins (polychlorinated dibenzo--dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs)) as well as dioxin-like (DL-) and non-dioxin-like (NDL-) polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) followed by replacement with decontaminated fish oil. All feed decontamination processes must comply with the acceptability criteria specified in the Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786. The data provided by the feed business operator were assessed with respect to the efficacy of the process, absence of solvent residues, and on information demonstrating that the process does not adversely affect the nature and characteristics of the product. According to data provided, the process was effective in removing PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs by approximately 70% and NDL-PCBs by about 60%. The data showed that it is possible to meet the current EU requirements with respect to these contaminants, provided that the level of contamination of untreated fish meal is within the range of the tested batches. It is unlikely that hazardous substances (i.e. hexane) remain in the final product. The Panel considered that there is no evidence that fish oil extraction followed by replacement with decontaminated fish oil leads to detrimental changes in the nutritional composition of the fish meal, although some beneficial constituents (e.g. lipophilic vitamins) might be depleted. The feed business operator submitted information to demonstrate safe disposal of the waste material. The CONTAM Panel concluded that the proposed decontamination process to remove dioxins (PCDD/Fs) and PCBs from fish meal by means of solvent extraction and fish oil replacement was assessed to be compliant with the acceptability criteria provided for in Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786 of 19 May 2015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5173DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009502PMC
February 2018

Effect on public health of a possible increase of the maximum level for 'aflatoxin total' from 4 to 10 μg/kg in peanuts and processed products thereof, intended for direct human consumption or use as an ingredient in foodstuffs.

EFSA J 2018 Feb 8;16(2):e05175. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

EFSA was asked to deliver a scientific opinion regarding the effect on public health of a possible increase of the maximum level (ML) for 'aflatoxin total' (AFT; sum of aflatoxin B1, aflatoxin B2, aflatoxin G1 and aflatoxin G2) from 4 to 10 μg/kg in peanuts and processed products thereof. Aflatoxins are genotoxic and cause hepatocellular carcinomas in humans. The Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) evaluated 8,085 samples of peanuts and 472 samples of peanut butter, with > 60% left-censored. The mean concentration of AFT in peanuts was 2.65/3.56 μg/kg (lower bound (LB)/upper bound (UB)) with a maximum of 1,429 μg/kg. The mean concentration in peanut butter was 1.47/1.92 μg/kg (LB/UB) with a maximum of 407 μg/kg. Peanut oil was not included since all data were left-censored and the ML does not apply for oil. Exposure was calculated for a 'Current ML' and 'Increased ML' scenario, and mean chronic exposure estimates for consumers only, amounted to 0.04-2.74 ng/kg body weight (bw) per day and 0.07-4.28 ng/kg bw per day, respectively. The highest exposures were calculated for adolescents and other children. The CONTAM Panel used the cancer potencies estimated by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives for the risk characterisation. Under the scenario of the current ML, the cancer risk was estimated to range between 0.001 and 0.213 aflatoxin-induced cancers per 100,000 person years. Under the scenario of the increased ML, it ranged between 0.001 and 0.333 aflatoxin-induced cancers per 100,000 person years. Comparing these data calculated under the current ML scenario with the yearly excess cancer risk of 0.014 shows a higher risk for consumers of peanuts and peanut butter in some surveys. The calculated cancer risks indicate that an increase of the ML would further increase the risk by a factor of 1.6-1.8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5175DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7009717PMC
February 2018