Parabens are a group of chemical compounds extensively used as preservatives in consumer products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and processed food. Parabens have been shown to have endocrine disrupting properties, to accumulate in breast tissue and to increase the proliferation of hormone receptor positive breast cancer cell lines through competitive binding to the estrogen receptor. Studies have shown that isobutylparaben has the highest binding affinity for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), reported to bind environmental toxins. This study examined the alterations in gene expression correlated to exposure of the hormone receptor negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231 to isobutylparaben over a 72 hour time frame. Exposure of the cells to concentrations of isobutylparabens commonly found in consumer products alters the genetic expression profile of the cells. In our study, detectable expression levels of AhR mRNA decreased, while cytochrome P450 (CYP1A1) and receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL) mRNA levels increased, as analyzed by qPCR. The downregulation of AhR and altered expression levels of invasion related genes is suggestive of an increased metastatic phenotype with exposure to isobutylparaben.

Citation Format: Christine Strelchuk, Holly Jones Taggart. Alterations in gene expression after exposure of MDA-MB-231 cells to isobutylparaben [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 2427. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-2427