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Cancer. 1988 Apr 1;61(7):1312-5.

4-Hydroxytamoxifen binds to estrogen receptors and inhibits the growth of human endometrial cancer cells in vitro.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


Effects of 4-hydroxytamoxifen, a major metabolite of tamoxifen, on the proliferation of cancer cells from human endometrial adenocarcinomas obtained by hysterectomy were investigated in primary culture. Competitive binding studies showed that 4-hydroxytamoxifen effectively binds to cytoplasmic estrogen receptors (ER) in uterine adenocarcinomas. Of 20 endometrial adenocarcinomas examined, five tumors were successfully grown in primary cell culture. The addition of 4-hydroxytamoxifen (1 nmol/l to 1 mumol/l) in a medium supplemented with estrogen-free serum resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of the growth of cancer cells in two tumors having ER. However, 4-hydroxytamoxifen did not affect the growth in the culture system of the remaining three tumors, in which ER were absent in two tumors but were present in one. These results strongly suggest that tamoxifen has a direct growth-inhibitory effect on human endometrial adenocarcinoma possibly through ER in the tumor.

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