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

Simultaneous permeation of tamoxifen and gamma linolenic acid across excised human skin. Further evidence of the permeation of solvated complexes.

Tamoxifen is the hormonal treatment of choice in women who have hormone-dependent breast cancer and its efficacy in those women considered to have a high risk of developing breast cancer, has also been established. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) has been shown to decrease the invasion of breast cancer and recent studies have demonstrated that GLA can enhance the oestrogen receptor down-regulation induced by tamoxifen. However, tamoxifen is associated with serious side-effects due mainly to systemic delivery, and targeted delivery of both tamoxifen and GLA would be highly beneficial. This work was a preliminary study for the development of a transcutaneous system to simultaneously deliver both tamoxifen and GLA directly to the breast. Full thickness human skin was dosed with 500 microl saturated solution of tamoxifen in borage oil (25% GLA) and the simultaneous permeation of the two actives determined. There was rapid flux with minimal lag time, the cumulative permeation at 24 h was 764.3 +/- 94.2 microg cm(-2) for GLA and 5.44 +/- 0.67 microg cm(-2) for tamoxifen: the latter being comparable to the amount of tamoxifen associated with cancerous breast tissue from a 20 mg oral dose. The ratio of GLA/tamoxifen permeated at different timepoints was quite consistent, both in terms of mass (mean 138, S.D. 15.1) and mols (mean 184, S.D. 20.3). It was determined that 2.5 molecules of GLA were associated with each molecule of tamoxifen in the permeation process, equating to a solvation cage of three molecules of triacylglycerol. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of administering simultaneously tamoxifen and GLA using borage oil as vehicle, which warrants further investigation as a novel topical two-component system in relation to or prophylaxis of those perceived at high risk of developing breast cancer. The study also provides further evidence of the permeation of solvated complexes across skin, rather than discrete penetrant molecules.[1]


  1. Simultaneous permeation of tamoxifen and gamma linolenic acid across excised human skin. Further evidence of the permeation of solvated complexes. Karia, C., Harwood, J.L., Morris, A.P., Heard, C.M. International journal of pharmaceutics. (2004) [Pubmed]
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