The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor implicated in several pathways known to be relevant in lymphomagenesis. Aim of our study was to explore the link between AhR activation and risk of lymphoma subtypes. We used a Dual-Luciferase AssayÂ® and a luminometer to detect the activation of the luciferase gene, in HepG2 cells transfected with a specific reporter systems, by a 50 ml serum aliquot of cases of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (N = 108), follicular lymphoma (N = 85), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (N = 72), multiple myeloma (N = 80), and Hodgkin lymphoma (N = 94) and 357 controls who participated in the multicentre Italian study on gene-environment interactions in lymphoma etiology (ItGxE). Risk of each lymphoma subtype associated with AhR activation was calculated with polytomous logistic regression adjusting by age, gender, and study centre. The overall prevalence of AhR activation ranged 13.9-23.6% by subtype, and it varied by study area (8-39%). Risk associated with AhR activation was moderately elevated for follicular lymphoma (OR = 1.56, 95% CI 0.86, 2.80) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (OR = 1.56, 95% CI 0.83, 2.96). Despite our inconclusive findings about the association with risk of lymphoma subtypes, we showed that the Dual-Luciferase Assay can be reliably and easily applied in population-based studies to detect AhR activation.
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