Threshold for classification as a skin sensitizer in the local lymph node assay: A statistical evaluation

D. A. Basketter, L. J. Lea, K. Cooper, J. Stocks, A. Dickens, I. Pate, R. J. Dearman, I. Kimber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    For more than 15 years, the murine local lymph node assay (LLNA) has undergone development, evaluation and validation as an alternative approach to the predictive identification of skin sensitizing chemicals. The criteria by which sensitizing chemicals are distinguished from those without significant skin sensitising hazard were developed empirically and were based on experience rather than a mathematical formula or statistical method. The current practice is to classify, as skin sensitizers, those chemicals which at one or more test concentrations stimulate a threefold or greater increase in the proliferative activity in draining lymph node cells. Despite the apparent confirmation of the utility of this approach from the extensive data available, there has not previously been any attempt to substantiate the accuracy of this criterion. In this present investigations, data from 134 chemicals tested in the LLNA and in the guinea pig and/or for which there exists clear evidence relating to human skin sensitization potential, have been subjected to a rigorous statistical evaluation using Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves. Whether the analysis is based on a comparison with guinea pig or human data, the results indicate that the empirically derived threefold threshold is an acceptable practical value for hazard identification. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1174
    Number of pages7
    JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


    • Classification
    • Local lymph node assay
    • Skin sensitization
    • Threshold


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