Tamoxifen, widely used as adjuvant therapy in the treatment of breast cancer, is now undergoing trials as a cancer chemopreventative agent. Previous work has shown an association between 32P-postlabelled adducts in rat liver DNA and the development of liver tumours. With the use of accelerator mass spectrometry, [14C]tamoxifen was shown to bind to liver DNA of female rats in a dose-dependent manner and was linear over 0.1-1 mg/kg, compatible with the therapeutic dose used in women (20 mg/person per day). Radiolabel could also be detected in extrahepatic organs, including reproductive and GI-tract, where levels were about 18 and 46%, respectively those seen in liver. Following enzymatic hydrolysis of liver DNA, normal nucleotides by HPLC showed < 2% incorporation of the [14C]radioactivity while > 80% appeared as non-polar products. In contrast, when animals were given an equivalent dose of [14C]toremifene, binding to DNA was an order of magnitude lower than that seen with tamoxifen and no evidence of non-polar adducted nucleotides following HPLC. However, in vitro, using human, rat or mouse liver microsomal preparations, NADPH-dependent binding of both toremifene and tamoxifen to calf thymus DNA could be demonstrated, suggesting that under favourable circumstances toremifene is capable of undergoing conversion to reactive intermediates.
- P- postlabelling
- Accelerator mass spectrometry
- DNA binding
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