To the Editor.—
In the article by Wilkerson et al, "Dinitrochlorobenzene [DNCB] Is Inherently Mutagenic in the Presence of Trace Mutagenic Contaminants," in the March 1988 issue of the Archives,1 it is suggested that alternatives such as squaric acid dibutyl ester and diphenylcyclopropenone be used preferentially to DNCB due to the results of the Ames assay. The authors correctly point out that the Ames assay is merely "... an economical and sensitive tool for widespread screening of potentially carcinogenic substances."The purpose of the Ames assay is to screen chemicals for possible carcinogenicity, which, therefore, require more definitive testing. In the case of DNCB, such testing has already been performed and was published a decade ago. In a study performed at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md,2 a group of laboratory rats and mice were fed DNCB as a large part of the diet for the bulk of their
Strick RA. The Ames Assay and Dinitrochlorobenzene. Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(10):1570. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670100068020
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