TitleTumor-Suppressive Functions of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) and AhR as a Therapeutic Target in Cancer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsElson DJ, Kolluri SK
JournalBiology (Basel)
Date Published2023 Mar 30

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor involved in regulating a wide range of biological responses. A diverse array of xenobiotics and endogenous small molecules bind to the receptor and drive unique phenotypic responses. Due in part to its role in mediating toxic responses to environmental pollutants, AhR activation has not been traditionally viewed as a viable therapeutic approach. Nonetheless, the expression and activation of AhR can inhibit the proliferation, migration, and survival of cancer cells, and many clinically approved drugs transcriptionally activate AhR. Identification of novel select modulators of AhR-regulated transcription that promote tumor suppression is an active area of investigation. The development of AhR-targeted anticancer agents requires a thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving tumor suppression. Here, we summarized the tumor-suppressive mechanisms regulated by AhR with an emphasis on the endogenous functions of the receptor in opposing carcinogenesis. In multiple different cancer models, the deletion of AhR promotes increased tumorigenesis, but a precise understanding of the molecular cues and the genetic targets of AhR involved in this process is lacking. The intent of this review was to synthesize the evidence supporting AhR-dependent tumor suppression and distill insights for development of AhR-targeted cancer therapeutics.

Alternate JournalBiology (Basel)
PubMed ID37106727
PubMed Central IDPMC10135996
Grant ListT32ES07060-40 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
P30ES030287 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States