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Cancer Res. 1990 Jun 1;50(11):3189-92.

Effect of steroidal and nonsteroidal antiestrogens on the growth of a tamoxifen-stimulated human endometrial carcinoma (EnCa101) in athymic mice.

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  • 1Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center, Madison.


Tamoxifen (TAM), a nonsteroidal antiestrogen, is used in the adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Previous studies, however, have indicated that some human breast and endometrial tumors are stimulated to grow with TAM in the athymic mouse. One such TAM-stimulated tumor is the EnCa101 human endometrial adenocarcinoma. Our aim was to evaluate the ability of different doses of TAM or other nonsteroidal antiestrogens to stimulate the growth of EnCa101 tumors in athymic mice. Additionally we have evaluated less estrogenic antiestrogens (two steroidal antiestrogens, RU 39,411 and ICI 164,384, and two nonsteroidal antiestrogens, keoxifene and MER-25) for their ability to inhibit TAM-stimulated growth. All experiments were done in ovariectomized athymic mice transplanted in the axillary mammary fat with 1-mm3 pieces of EnCa101 tumor. Sustained release preparations (0.5-2.0-cm Silastic capsule or 5-mg TAM cholesterol pellet) of TAM caused similar tumor growth. The growth rate was not altered by an additional daily i.p. injection of 1 mg TAM in 0.1 ml peanut oil. A 3-mg TAM daily dose was toxic. Four weeks of treatment (100-micrograms s.c. injections, every other day) with nonsteroidal antiestrogens, trioxifene mesylate, enclomiphene, or nafoxidine stimulated tumor growth. However, keoxifene stimulated this tumor to a lesser degree than TAM and partially inhibited TAM-stimulated growth. ICI 164,384 showed no stimulatory activity (1-mg s.c. injections every other day) alone compared to controls but inhibited TAM-stimulated (0.25-cm Silastic capsule) growth. In a parallel experiment, RU 39,411 (1-mg s.c. injections every other day) stimulated EnCa101 to grow. In contrast when RU 39,411 was administered in a sustained release preparation (2.0-cm Silastic capsule) there was no stimulatory growth compared to controls. Additionally RU 39,411 inhibited TAM-stimulated growth, but the low-potency antiestrogen, MER-25, was less effective in this regard. These data suggest that less "estrogenic" antiestrogens can inhibit TAM-stimulated tumor growth in vivo. Thus these compounds or derivatives may prove useful as a second-line endocrine therapy should TAM-stimulated tumor growth occur in the clinic.

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