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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 May;71(5):737-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03905.x.

Impact of CYP2D6, CYP3A5, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 polymorphisms on tamoxifen pharmacokinetics in Asian breast cancer patients.

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Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, Division of Medical Sciences, Humphrey Oei Institute of Cancer Research, National Cancer Centre, Singapore.



To investigate the impact of genetic polymorphisms in CYP2D6, CYP3A5, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 on the pharmacokinetics of tamoxifen and its metabolites in Asian breast cancer patients.


A total of 165 Asian breast cancer patients receiving 20 mg tamoxifen daily and 228 healthy Asian subjects (Chinese, Malay and Indian; n= 76 each) were recruited. The steady-state plasma concentrations of tamoxifen and its metabolites were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography. The CYP2D6 polymorphisms were genotyped using the INFINITI™ CYP450 2D6I assay, while the polymorphisms in CYP3A5, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 were determined via direct sequencing.


The polymorphisms, CYP2D6*5 and *10, were significantly associated with lower endoxifen and higher N-desmethyltamoxifen (NDM) concentrations. Patients who were *1/*1 carriers exhibited 2.4- to 2.6-fold higher endoxifen concentrations and 1.9- to 2.1-fold lower NDM concentrations than either *10/*10 or *5/*10 carriers (P < 0.001). Similarly, the endoxifen concentrations were found to be 1.8- to 2.6-times higher in *1/*5 or *1/*10 carriers compared with *10/*10 and *5/*10 carriers (P≤ 0.001). Similar relationships were observed between the CYP2D6 polymorphisms and metabolic ratios of tamoxifen and its metabolites. No significant associations were observed with regards to the polymorphisms in CYP3A5, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19.


The present study in Asian breast cancer patients showed that CYP2D6*5/*10 and *10/*10 genotypes are associated with significantly lower concentrations of the active metabolite of tamoxifen, endoxifen. Identifying such patients before the start of treatment may be useful in optimizing therapy with tamoxifen. The role of CYP3A5, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 seem to be minor.

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