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Eur J Cancer. 1992;28A(4-5):805-10.

Intermittent high-dose tamoxifen as a potential modifier of multidrug resistance.

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  • 1University Department of Clinical Oncology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K.


In vitro tamoxifen reverses multidrug resistance (MDR). To evaluate the clinical potential of using tamoxifen in this way, intermittent high-dose tamoxifen was combined with oral etoposide in 86 patients. At 320 mg/day tamoxifen for 6 days, mean plasma levels of tamoxifen in 11 patients increased from 453 ng/ml (range 269-664) on day 2 to 984 ng/ml (578-1336) on day 6. Of 31 patients who had plasma tamoxifen measured during the time of etoposide administration (days 4-6), 13(43%) were over 1111 ng/ml (3 mumol/l), an active in vitro level. Potentially active levels of the principal metabolite, N-desmethyl tamoxifen, were also obtained but accumulation was slower. Emesis and thromboembolism were toxicities. Tamoxifen is a modifier of MDR, a role that warrants further clinical studies.

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