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Chem Res Toxicol. 2001 Dec;14(12):1643-53.

Synthesis and reactivity of potential toxic metabolites of tamoxifen analogues: droloxifene and toremifene o-quinones.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy (M/C 781), College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 South Wood Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7231, USA.


Tamoxifen remains the endocrine therapy of choice in the treatment of all stages of hormone-dependent breast cancer. However, tamoxifen has been shown to increase the risk of endometrial cancer which has stimulated research for new effective antiestrogens, such as droloxifene and toremifene. In this study, the potential for these compounds to cause cytotoxic effects was investigated. One potential cytotoxic mechanism could involve metabolism of droloxifene and toremifene to catechols, followed by oxidation to reactive o-quinones. Another cytotoxic pathway could involve the oxidation of 4-hydroxytoremifene to an electrophilic quinone methide. Comparison of the amounts of GSH conjugates formed from 4-hydroxytamoxifen, droloxifene, and 4-hydroxytoremifene suggested that 4-hydroxytoremifene is more effective at formation of a quinone methide. However, all three substrates formed similar amounts of o-quinones. Both the tamoxifen-o-quinone and toremifene-o-quinone reacted with deoxynucleosides to give corresponding adducts. However, the toremifene-o-quinone was shown to be considerably more reactive than the tamoxifen-o-quinone in terms of both kinetic data as well as the yield and type of deoxynucleoside adducts formed. Since thymidine formed the most abundant adducts with the toremifene-o-quinone, sufficient material was obtained for characterization by (1)H NMR, COSY-NMR, DEPT-NMR, and tandem mass spectrometry. Cytotoxicity studies with tamoxifen, droloxifene, 4-hydroxytamoxifen, 4-hydroxytoremifene, and their catechol metabolites were carried out in the human breast cancer cell lines S30 and MDA-MB-231. All of the metabolites tested showed cytotoxic effects that were similar to the parent antiestrogens which suggests that o-quinone formation from tamoxifen, droloxifene, and 4-hydroxytoremifene is unlikely to contribute to their cytotoxicity. However, the fact that the o-quinones formed adducts with deoxynucleosides in vitro implies that the o-quinone pathway might contribute to the genotoxicity of the antiestrogens in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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