The aryl hydrocarbon receptor as a target for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer chemotherapy

Shu Zhang, Ping Lei, Xinyi Liu, Xiangrong Li, Kelcey Walker, Leela Kotha, Craig Rowlands, Stephen Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and the relatively non-toxic selective aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) modulator 6-methyl-1,3,8- trichlorodibenzo-furan (MCDF) induced CYP1A1-dependent ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activity and inhibited proliferation of seven estrogen receptor (ER) negative breast cancer cell lines. MCDF, TCDD and structurally related 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran, 1,2,3,7,8-pentachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, 2,3,4,7,8-pentachlorodibenzofuran, and 3,3′,4,4′,5- pentachlorobiphenyl induced CYP1A1 and inhibited proliferation of BT-474 and MDA-MB-468 cells. In BT474 and MDA-MB-468 cells transfected with a small inhibitory RNA for the AhR, the antiproliferative activity of the chlorinated aromatic compounds was reversed, whereas for MCDF, only partial reversal was observed, suggesting that this compound acts through both AhR-dependent and AhR-independent pathways in these two cell lines. MCDF also inhibited tumor growth in athymic nude mice in which MDA-MB-468 cells were injected directly into the mammary fat pad. These results suggest that the AhR is a potential drug target for treatment of ER-negative breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-844
Number of pages10
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cancer Research


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