The cooked meat derived genotoxic carcinogen 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine has potent hormone-like activity: mechanistic support for a role in breast cancer.
Cancer Res. 2007 Oct 1;67(19):9597-602. PMID: 17909072
Biomolecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.
The cooked meat-derived heterocyclic amine 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is activated by CYP1A2 to the N-hydroxy metabolite, then esterified by acetyl transferase and sulfur transferase into unstable DNA-reactive products that can lead to mutation. The genotoxicity of PhIP has been implicated in its carcinogenicity. Yet, CYP1A2-null mice are still prone to PhIP-mediated cancer, inferring that alternative mechanisms must be operative in tumor induction. PhIP induces tumors of the breast, prostate, and colon in rats and lymphoma in mice. This profile of carcinogenicity is indicative of hormonal involvement. We recently reported that PhIP has potent estrogenic activity inducing transcription of estrogen (E2)-regulated genes, proliferation of E(2)-dependent cells, up-regulation of progesterone receptor, and stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling. In this report, we show for the first time that PhIP at doses as low as of 10(-11) mol/L has direct effects on a rat pituitary lactotroph model (GH3 cells) and is able to induce cell proliferation and the synthesis and secretion of prolactin. This PhIP-induced pituitary cell proliferation and synthesis and secretion of prolactin can be attenuated by an estrogen receptor (ER) inhibitor, implying that PhIP effects on lactotroph responses are ERalpha mediated. In view of the strong association between estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and breast cancer, the PhIP repertoire of hormone-like activities provides further mechanistic support for the tissue-specific carcinogenicity of the chemical. Furthermore, the recent epidemiology studies that report an association between consumption of cooked red meat and premenopausal and postmenopausal human breast cancer are consonant with these observations.