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What is OncoLogic™?

OncoLogic™ is a desktop computer program that evaluates the likelihood that a chemical may cause cancer. OncoLogic™ has been peer reviewed, runs on a Windows® PC, and is being released by EPA at no cost, to make it available to any researcher or organization wishing to evaluate cancer potential of chemicals. The OncoLogic installer is posted at the bottom of this page.

How does OncoLogic™ predict cancer potential of a chemical?

OncoLogic™ predicts cancer-causing potential by:

  1. applying the rules of structure activity relationship (SAR) analysis,

  2. mimicking the decision logic of human experts, and

  3. incorporating knowledge of how chemicals cause cancer in animals and humans.

What is a Structure Activity Relationship (SAR)?

SAR is a technique used by chemists, biologists, and other scientists to correlate the biological activity of a chemical to its structure. When performing SAR analysis, a scientist will group chemical compounds by structural characteristics such as shape, size, chemical arrangement, and distribution of functional groups and analyzes the contribution of each factor to biological activities. Other considerations include the conditions under which humans may be exposed to the chemical in question.

What is an expert system?

An expert system is a computer program that mimics the judgment of experts by following sets of knowledge rules that are based on studies of how chemicals cause cancer in animals and humans. An expert system, like OncoLogic™, asks for chemical and use information from the user and following the knowledge rules incorporated into the system, uses the responses to construct an estimation of the most likely results.

What are the chemical classes evaluated by OncoLogic™?

Currently OncoLogic™ has subsystems that can evaluate fibers, metals, polymers, and more than 48 classes of organic chemicals. If the chemical of interest can not be placed into one of the chemical classes listed, check the Miscellaneous Class or use the Functional Analysis component. These options are explained in greater detail in the OncoLogic™: FAQs [PDF] (8pp., 207K, about PDF). Efforts to expand chemical classes are underway.

Why was OncoLogic™ developed?

OncoLogic™ was developed primarily to provide guidance to industries, State and Local governments, and the public on how EPA uses SAR analysis to assess the potential of new chemicals to cause cancer. It is a highly useful tool for chemical companies to conduct preliminary reviews during research and development of the cancer-causing potential of chemicals. It can also be effectively used by State and Local governments to assess the potential cancer concern of existing chemicals for which cancer bioassay data are not available.

What data sources were used to build the Knowledge Rules in OncoLogic™?

Cancer bioassay data from the following sources were used to develop the rule packages:

  1. six-volume series of monographs entitled “Chemical Induction of Cancer”;

  2. international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) monograph series;

  3. U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Toxicology Program (NTP) technical report series;

  4. U.S. Public Health Service publication series 149 entitled ‘Survey of Compounds Which Have Been Tested for Carcinogenic Activity’; and

  5. non-classified chemical industry and U.S. EPA research data.

Publicly available scientific literatures and external domain experts were also used or consulted whenever necessary. These options are explained in greater detail in the OncoLogic™: FAQs [PDF] (8pp., 207K, about PDF).

What do I need to know to run OncoLogic™?

A user must be familiar with organic chemistry and know certain characteristics of the chemical of interest including: structure (including subunits present), physical / chemical properties (stability, etc.), biological and mechanistic information, as well as possible routes of exposure. For example, there are specific inputs required for fibers, metals, polymers, and these are explained in greater detail in the OncoLogic™: FAQs [PDF] (8pp., 207K, about PDF). The general public is advised to seek assistance from chemists, carcinogenesis experts, and other environmental health specialists when using OncoLogic™.

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