Integrating in silico models and read-across methods for predicting toxicity of chemicals: A step-wise strategy

Emilio Benfenati, Qasim Chaudhry, Giuseppina Gini, Jean Lou Dorne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In silico methods and models are increasingly used for predicting properties of chemicals for hazard identification and hazard characterisation in the absence of experimental toxicity data. Many in silico models are available and can be used individually or in an integrated fashion. Whilst such models offer major benefits to toxicologists, risk assessors and the global scientific community, the lack of a consistent framework for the integration of in silico results can lead to uncertainty and even contradictions across models and users, even for the same chemicals. In this context, a range of methods for integrating in silico results have been proposed on a statistical or case-specific basis. Read-across constitutes another strategy for deriving reference points or points of departure for hazard characterisation of untested chemicals, from the available experimental data for structurally-similar compounds, mostly using expert judgment. Recently a number of software systems have been developed to support experts in this task providing a formalised and structured procedure. Such a procedure could also facilitate further integration of the results generated from in silico models and read-across. This article discusses a framework on weight of evidence published by EFSA to identify the stepwise approach for systematic integration of results or values obtained from these "non-testing methods". Key criteria and best practices for selecting and evaluating individual in silico models are also described, together with the means to combining the results, taking into account any limitations, and identifying strategies that are likely to provide consistent results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105060
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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