Evaluation of the ToxRTool’s ability to rate the reliability of toxicological data for human health hazard assessments

  • D. Segal, S.L. Makris, A.D. Kraft, A.S. Bale, J. Fox, M. Gilbert, D.R. Bergfelt, K.C. Raffaele, R.B. Blain, K.M. Fedak, M.K. Selgrade, K.M. Crofton
  • Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, June 2015, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.03.005

TOxRTool and Toxicology Data

What is it about?

Regulatory agencies often utilize results from peer reviewed publications for hazard assessments. A problem in doing so is the lack of well-accepted tools to objectively, efficiently and systematically assess the quality of published toxicological studies. Herein, we evaluated the publicly available software-based ToxRTool (Toxicological data Reliability assessment Tool) for use in human health hazard assessments. Eight scientists used the ToxRTool to rate the same 20 journal articles on thyroid toxicants. Results were then compared using the Finn coefficient and ‘‘AC1’’ to determine inter-rater consistency. Ratings were most consistent for high-quality journal articles, but less consistent as study quality decreased. Primary reasons for inconsistencies were that some criteria were subjective and some were not clearly described. It was concluded, however, that the ToxRTool has potential and, with refinement, could provide a more objective approach for screening published toxicology studies for use in health risk evaluations, although the ToxRTool ratings are primarily based on study reporting quality.

Why is it important?

We found that the ToxRTool has potential to increase the consistency and transparency of the initial steps of study review and selection for health hazard assessments. A major advantage of the current version is that it allows for a transparent documentation of the study-scoring process. It can also provide a preliminary sorting of the literature, based primarily on study reporting details, as homogeneously high scores were obtained for studies with well-documented experimental details. As such, the ToxRTool appears well-suited to distinguish studies that are excellent, from a reporting perspective, from those studies with experimental procedures that are poorly documented, and it does so in an objective, consistent, and efficient fashion.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Kevin M Crofton

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