EPA Science Inventory

Advancing the adverse outcome pathway framework - An international horizon scanning approach (presentation)


LaLone, C., G. Ankley, S. Belanger, M. Embry, G. Hodges, D. Knapen, S. Munn, E. Perkins, M. Rudd, Dan Villeneuve, M. Whelan, C. Willett, X. Zhang, AND M. Hecker. Advancing the adverse outcome pathway framework - An international horizon scanning approach (presentation). SETAC North America, Minneapolis, MN, November 12 - 16, 2017.


In preparation for a Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Pellston Workshop titled “Advancing the Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) Concept: An International Horizon Scanning Approach,” a horizon scanning effort was undertaken to gather input from the global scientific and regulatory communities regarding the perceived state of the science regarding AOP development and application. The horizon scanning exercise specifically solicited questions concerning challenges and/or limitations that must be overcome to move the AOP framework forward. From March-June, 2016, 340 valid questions were collected from 158 global submissions to an online horizon scanning survey, with respondents self-identifying as 35% academia, 35% government, 20% industry, and 5% non-government organizations. The questions were separated into broad topic areas including, AOP networks, quantitative AOPs, collaboration and communication on AOPs, AOP discovery and development, extrapolation, exposure/toxicokinetics considerations, and AOP application. An expert-ranking exercise was then conducted to identify high-priority questions for each category and from this, four key themes emerged that could aid in guiding future AOP research and regulatory initiatives. These themes were therefore used as workgroup topics for the Pellston Workshop, including: (1) AOP networks and their applications, (2) quantitative AOPs (qAOPs) and their applications, (3) regulatory use of the AOP framework, and (4) expanding awareness of, involvement in, and acceptance of AOPs to support aspects of predictive toxicology and regulatory decision-making. Additionally, from the horizon scanning exercise, frequently asked questions (FAQs) were identified and addressed by experts in the field. The answers to these FAQs can provide a common starting point for those interested in the AOP framework to initiate discussions around new, forward-thinking approaches. Together the horizon scanning approach, expert ranking exercise, and answers to FAQs, were used to set the stage for the SETAC Pellston Workshop that took place in Cornwall, Canada during April 2017. The contents of this presentation neither constitute nor necessarily reflect US EPA policy.


Input on a particular topic from stakeholders with a variety of backgrounds and geographic locations can lead to new ideas to advance a science field. A horizon scanning exercise, used to collect questions pertinent to a specific topic, can be useful in gathering information from a broad group of people, with the intent of gathering new ideas. In this case, horizon scanning was used to understand how researchers and regulators perceive the status and future directions for the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework. The results of the horizon scanning exercise were used as a means to guide discussion topics at an expert workshop. The AOP framework helps scientists gather information about a biological pathway in a consistent format that can be useful for making regulatory decisions about the importance of that pathway and effects to organism upon its disruption by chemical and non-chemical stressors. Advancing the ability to use biological pathway information for regulatory decision-making was the driving force in creating the framework, therefore it was important to ask the greater scientific and regulatory community to identify limitations or challenges they believe need attention to achieve this goal. Experts were then used to rank and prioritize the submitted questions and identify those most critical to the success of the AOP framework in aiding research and regulatory decision-making.

Record Details:

Completion Date: 11/16/2017
Record Last Revised: 11/13/2017
Record Created: 11/13/2017
Record Released: 11/13/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 338269