The selective aryl hydrocarbon receptor modulator 6-methyl-1,3,8-trichlorodibenzofuran inhibits prostate tumor metastasis in TRAMP mice

Biochem Pharmacol. 2009 Apr 1;77(7):1151-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2008.12.015. Epub 2008 Dec 31.


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factor that binds halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and endogenous compounds. We previously reported that AhR null (Ahr(-/-)) transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice on a C57BL/6J background develop prostate tumors with much greater frequency than AhR wild-type (Ahr(+/+)) TRAMP mice, suggesting that the AhR has tumor suppressor properties. Because AhR signaling pathway inactivation increased susceptibility to prostate tumorigenesis, we tested the hypothesis that a selective AhR modulator (SAhRM), 6-methyl-1,3,8-trichlorodibenzofuran (6-MCDF), can protect against prostate tumorigenesis. TRAMP mice on the standard C57BL/6JxFVB genetic background were fed 0, 10, or 40mg 6-MCDF/kg diet beginning at 8 weeks of age. Tumor incidence, pelvic lymph node metastasis, and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) concentrations were determined at 140 days of age. Prostate tumor incidence and size were not significantly reduced in mice fed 6-MCDF. However, the frequency of pelvic lymph node metastasis was reduced fivefold in mice fed the 40mg 6-MCDF/kg diet. Serum VEGF concentrations were also reduced by 6-MCDF treatment, particularly in mice without prostate tumors, and 6-MCDF was shown to act directly on cultured prostates to inhibit VEGF secretion. Together, these results suggest that 6-MCDF inhibits metastasis, in part, by inhibiting prostatic VEGF production prior to tumor formation. This is the first report that 6-MCDF can confer protection against prostate cancer in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzofurans / pharmacology
  • Benzofurans / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Pelvic Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / physiology*


  • Benzofurans
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • 6-methyl-1,3,8-trichlorodibenzofuran