Molecular biology of the Ah receptor and its role in carcinogenesis

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279 Scopus citations


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated nuclear transcription factor that mediates responses to toxic halogenated aromatic toxins such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, combustion products, and numerous phytochemicals such as flavonoids and indole-3-carbinol (I3C). The nuclear AhR complex is a heterodimer containing the AhR and AhR nuclear translocator (Arnt) proteins, and the molecular mechanism of AhR action is associated with binding of the heterodimer to dioxin responsive elements (DREs) in regulatory regions of Ah-responsive genes. TCDD, a 'xenodioxin', is a multi-site carcinogen in several species and possibly in humans, whereas natural AhR ligands including I3C and flavonoids tend to protect against cancer. Both TCDD and phytochemicals inhibit estrogen-induced breast and endometrial cancer, and the molecular mechanisms of this common response will be described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology Letters
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Mar 31 2001


  • AhR
  • Antiestrogenicity
  • Breast cancer
  • Crosstalk
  • ERα

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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