Identification of estrogenic tamoxifen metabolite(s) in tamoxifen-resistant human breast tumors

Valerie J. Wiebe, C. Kent Osborne, William L. McGuire, Michael W. DeGregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Purpose: We hove shown previously that acquired tamoxifen resistance in an in vivo experimental model is associated with reduced tamoxifen accumulation, isomerization of trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen, and tamoxifen-stimulated tumor growth. The purpose of this study is to isolate and verify the presence of estrogenic tamoxifen metabolites in human breast tumors using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass-spectrometry (MS) techniques. Patients and Methods: In the present study, we used HPLC and MS to identify the presence of estrogenic metabolites in tumor samples excised from athymic nude mice and in human breast tumors isolated from patients receiving adjuvant tamoxifen therapy. Results: We identified the presence of metabolite E, a known estrogenic metabolite of tamexifen, in tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 human breast tumors implanted in athymic nude mice, as well as in tumors from patients with clinical resistance. Additionally, we separated another estrogenic metabolite, bisphenol, by HPLC, and this was also tentatively confirmed by MS analysis. Conclusion: These data suggest that cellular tamoxifen metabolism to estrogenic metabolites may in part contribute to stimulating the growth of hormone-responsive breast tumors following prolonged exposure to tamoxifen. Further evaluation of the relationship between cellular metabolism and acquired tamoxifen resistance is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-994
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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