Toremifene and its metabolites enhance doxorubicin accumulation in estrogen receptor negative multidrug resistant human breast cancer cells

Valerie Wiebe, Steven Koester, Michele Lindberg, Vernon Emshoff, Jeffery Baker, Gregory Wurz, Michael DeGregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The enhanced accumulation of doxorubicin by agents known to reverse multidrug resistance provides a good functional test for evaluating modulating activity. In the present study, the non-steroidal triphenylethylene toremifene selectively increased doxorubicin accumulation in multidrug resistant estrogen receptor negative MDA A-1 human breast cells compared to the MDA 231 wild type cells. MDA A-1 cells were noted to be 1,000 fold resistant to doxorubicin (IC 50=< 0.1 μg/ml MDA 231; IC 50=100 μg/ml MDA A-1). Total accumulation of doxorubicin, expressed as area under the time concentration curve (AUC), was increased significantly in doxorubicin resistant cells (156% increase) versus wild type MDA 231 cells (6% increase). Correction of the accumulation defect to doxorubicin in drug resistant cells required a 18-20 hour pre-incubation with toremifene. The effects of toremifene on cell cycle in MDA A-1 cells was analyzed by flow cytometric techniques. Toremifene had a dose response relationship in blocking cells in G0-G1 reducing the number of cells entering S phase of the cell cycle. This effect was maximal at concentrations which increased the accumulation of doxorubicin in MDA A-1 cells. Several metabolites of toremifene were also noted to increase doxorubicin accumulation in MDA A-1 doxorubicin resistant cells. Tore XVIII (deaminocarboxytoremifene), Tore IV (4-hydroxy-N-desmethyltoremifene) and N-desmethyltoremifene all increased the accumulation of doxorubicin significantly (114%, 128% and 42% respectively). Finally, we show evidence that toremifene and its active metabolites are present in high concentrations in human plasma following a single 200 mg oral dose. Toremifene remains a very promising agent for modulating doxorubicin cytotoxicity in multidrug resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalInvestigational New Drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • multidrug resistance
  • toremifene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine


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