3,3',4,4'-Tetrachlorobiphenyl exhibits antiestrogenic and antitumorigenic activity in the rodent uterus and mammary cells and in human breast cancer cells

Kavita Ramamoorthy, Mona Sethi Gupta, Gulan Sun, Andrew McDougal, Stephen H. Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


3,3',4,4'-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (tetraCB) binds to the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and several reports have demonstrated that AhR agonists exhibit antiestrogenic and antitumorigenic activities in human breast cancer cells, the rodent uterus and breast. In contrast, a recent study showed that 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB bound the estrogen receptor (ER) and exhibited ER agonist activities, and we therefore have reinvestigated the estrogenic and antiestrogenic activities of 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB. Our results showed that 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB and a structurally related analog, 3,3',4,4',5-pentaCB, did not bind the mouse uterine or human ER, did not induce proliferation of MCF-7 or T47D human breast cancer cells or induce reporter gene activity in cells transfected with E2-responsive constructs derived from the creatine kinase B (pCKB) or cathepsin D (pCD) gene promoters. Moreover, 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB and 3,3',4,4',5-pentaCB did not induce an increase in uterine wet weight, peroxidase activity or progesterone receptor binding in the 21-25-day-old female B6C3F1 mouse uterus. In contrast, both compounds inhibited 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced cell proliferation and transactivation in MCF-7/T47D cells and uterine responses in B6C3F1 mice; surprisingly inhibition of E2-induced reporter gene activity was not observed in T47D cells transfected with pCKB, and this was observed as a cell-specific response with other AhR agonists. Additionally, 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB significantly inhibited mammary tumor growth in female Sprague-Dawley rats initiated with 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene. Our results indicate that 3,3',4,4'-tetraCB does not exhibit ER agonist activity but exhibits a broad spectrum of antiestrogenic responses consistent with ligand-mediated AhR-ER crosstalk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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