Differential Effect of ITE on the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Signaling in Breast Cancer Tissue: A Histopathological Study

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on Google+

Zhengdong Li; Xiaolin Cheng; Zhigang Zhuang & Kai Wang


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that is highly expressed in various types of cancers including breast cancer. However, the role of AhR with its endogenous ligand 2-(1’H-indole-3’-carbonyl)-thiazole-4-carboxylic acid methyl ester (ITE) on the progression of breast cancer remains poorly understood. We aimed to investigate cell proliferation and migration states in breast cancer after activating AhR with the endogenous ligand ITE. Breast cancer tissue was evaluated by cell lines, immunohistochemistry, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, cell proliferation, flow cytometry, migration assays and western blot techniques. We found that AhR was widely expressed in breast cancer tissues and metastasis lymph node tissues, but not in normal tissues. The expression AhR was independent between the age, grades and TNM classifications for breast cancer tissues. ITE treatment significantly induced the activation of AhR in a time-dependent manner in both MCF-7 and T47D breast cancer cell lines. Meanwhile, ITE did not affect the cell migration but significantly suppressed the cell proliferation in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) MCF-7 andT47D cells, which probably attribute to the induction of cell cycle arrest in G1 phase and shortened S phase. Further mechanism study showed that ERK1/2 and AKT signaling were required for the activation of AhR in MCF-7 cells. These data suggest that AhR is a potential new target for treating patients with breast cancer. ITE may be more potentially used for therapeutic intervention for breast cancer with the kind of ER(+).

KEY WORDS: ITE; Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; Breast cancer; Estrogen receptor.

How to cite this article

LI, Z.; CHENG, X.; ZHUANG, Z. & WANG, K. Differential effect of ITE on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling in breast cancer tissue: A histopathological study. Int. J. Morphol., 41(5):1348-1356, 2023.