In next generation risk assessment (NGRA), non-animal approaches are used to quantify the chemical concentrations required to trigger bioactivity responses, in order to assure safe levels of human exposure. A limitation of many in vitro bioactivity assays, which are used in an NGRA context as new approach methodologies (NAMs), is that toxicokinetics, including biotransformation, are not adequately captured. The present study aimed to include, as a proof of principle, the bioactivity of the metabolite hydroxyflutamide (HF) in an NGRA approach to evaluate the safety of the anti-androgen flutamide (FLU), using the AR-CALUX assay to derive the NAM point of departure (PoD). The NGRA approach applied also included PBK modelling-facilitated quantitative in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (QIVIVE). The PBK model describing FLU and HF kinetics in humans was developed using GastroPlus™ and validated against human pharmacokinetic data. PBK model-facilitated QIVIVE was performed to translate the in vitro AR-CALUX derived concentration-response data to a corresponding in vivo dose-response curve for the anti-androgenicity of FLU, excluding and including the activity of HF (-HF and +HF, respectively). The in vivo benchmark dose 5% lower confidence limits (BMDL05) derived from the predicted in vivo dose-response curves for FLU, revealed a 440-fold lower BMDL05 when taking the bioactivity of HF into account. Subsequent comparison of the predicted BMDL05 values to the human therapeutic doses and historical animal derived PoDs, revealed that PBK modelling-facilitated QIVIVE that includes the bioactivity of the active metabolite is protective and provides a more appropriate PoD to assure human safety via NGRA, whereas excluding this would potentially result in an underestimation of the risk of FLU exposure in humans.
- 3R compliant method
- in vitro/in silico approaches
- PBK modelling
- risk assessment