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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

High-dose oral tamoxifen, a potential multidrug-resistance-reversal agent: phase I trial in combination with vinblastine.

BACKGROUND: P-glycoprotein mediates resistance to natural-product anti-neoplastic agents like vinblastine through an active transport process resulting in reduced intracellular concentration of these agents. The triphenylethylene antiestrogen tamoxifen and its major metabolite N-desmethyltamoxifen at concentrations of 4-6 microM enhance the intracellular concentration of natural-product antineoplastics and augment the cytotoxicity of such drugs three-fold to 10-fold in a variety of human and murine cell lines. PURPOSE: On the basis of these preclinical findings, we conducted a phase I clinical trial of high-dose, oral tamoxifen administered in conjunction with a 5-day continuous infusion of vinblastine. METHODS: We studied 53 patients with advanced epithelial tumors. Tamoxifen was given orally as a loading dose on day 1, followed by two doses a day on days 2-13. Vinblastine was given as a 120-hour continuous infusion (1.5 mg/m2 per day) on days 9-13 of each tamoxifen course. The starting dose of tamoxifen was 40 mg/m2 administered twice a day following a loading dose of 150 mg/m2. The maximum dose was 260 mg/m2 twice a day following a loading dose of 680 mg/m2. Treatment cycles were repeated every 28 days. RESULTS: The dose-limiting toxic effects of tamoxifen were neurologic and began within 3-5 days after the start of treatment. They consisted of tremor, hyperreflexia, dysmetria, unsteady gait, and dizziness. One patient experienced a grand mal seizure 24 hours after the last tamoxifen dose. Toxic effects were rapidly reversible. Asymptomatic prolongation of the QT interval on electrocardiogram occurred at doses of tamoxifen of 80 mg/m2 or higher given twice a day. No coagulation or ophthalmologic abnormalities occurred. Tamoxifen did not enhance the toxicity of vinblastine. Mean plasma concentrations of tamoxifen or N-desmethyltamoxifen at 260 mg/m2 tamoxifen given twice a day for 13 days were 6.04 and 6.56 microM, respectively. There was no relationship between plasma antiestrogen content and the development of neurotoxic effects. CONCLUSIONS: Tamoxifen at 150 mg/m2 given twice a day following a loading dose of 400 mg/m2 results in plasma levels of tamoxifen and N-desmethyltamoxifen of 4 and 6 microM, respectively, without dose-limiting toxicity. We recommend this dose for phase II trials of tamoxifen to modulate P-glycoprotein-mediated drug resistance. IMPLICATIONS: Our study demonstrates that high-dose tamoxifen can be safely administered and that plasma concentrations that may inhibit P-glycoprotein function can be achieved.[1]


  1. High-dose oral tamoxifen, a potential multidrug-resistance-reversal agent: phase I trial in combination with vinblastine. Trump, D.L., Smith, D.C., Ellis, P.G., Rogers, M.P., Schold, S.C., Winer, E.P., Panella, T.J., Jordan, V.C., Fine, R.L. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. (1992) [Pubmed]
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