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

Interindividual variation in the isomerization of 4-hydroxytamoxifen by human liver microsomes: involvement of cytochromes P450.

Tamoxifen and its metabolite 4-hydroxytamoxifen can both exist as geometrical isomers. Trans-tamoxifen is an oestrogen receptor antagonist and is used for the treatment of breast cancer. Trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen is 100 times more anti-oestrogenic than trans-tamoxifen. The cis isomers of tamoxifen and 4-hydroxytamoxifen are oestrogenic and weakly anti-oestrogenic or oestrogenic respectively. Both isomers of 4-hydroxytamoxifen have been detected in breast tumours of patients treated with trans-tamoxifen and it has been proposed that enzymatic isomerization of 4-hydroxytamoxifen occurs in vivo, resulting in resistance to tamoxifen therapy. We have investigated the isomerization of 4-hydroxytamoxifen by human liver microsomes and whether it is mediated by cytochromes P450. Microsomes from five of the 12 livers examined catalysed the interconversion of trans- and cis-4-hydroxytamoxifen (0.52 microM) when incubated for 40 min with an NADPH-generating system. Between 51 and 64% conversion of trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen was observed. Cis-4-hydroxytamoxifen was also converted to trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen (range 22-27%). Incubations with control, heat-treated microsomes resulted in approximately 1% isomerization of trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen. The extent of isomerization of trans- to cis-4-hydroxytamoxifen observed in microsomes from the other seven livers (range 2-8%) did not greatly exceed that seen in heat-inactivated microsomes. Enzymatic isomerization required NADPH and was inhibited by SKF 525A and ketoconazole, indicating the involvement of cytochromes P450. Enzymatic isomerization of trans-tamoxifen and trans-droloxifene (the 3-hydroxy synthetic analogue of tamoxifen) was not observed. These findings may have implications for the safe and effective use of tamoxifen.[1]


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