This paper summarizes the evidence on the Structural Alerts of mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. The Structural Alerts are molecular substructures or reactive groups that are related to the carcinogenic and mutagenic properties of the chemicals, and represent a sort of “ codification ” of a long series of studies aimed at highlighting the mechanisms of action of the mutagenic and carcinogenic chemicals. The identification of the Structural Alerts has had a great value both in terms of understanding mechanisms, and of assessing the risk posed by chemicals. This mini-review illustrates a number of case studies where the Structural Alerts have played a fundamental role in risk assessment, and describes recent work aimed at expanding or refining the knowledge on the Structural Alerts through the use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Mining approaches.
Keywords: Risk assessment, artificial intelligence, chemical description, data mining, software, action mechanism
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