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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1995;36(6):493-8.

Phase I study of percutaneous 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen with analyses of 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen concentrations in breast cancer and normal breast tissue.

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Montpellier University Cancer Institute, France.


4-OH-tamoxifen is an active metabolite of tamoxifen that is detectable in the serum and tumour tissue of patients treated by oral tamoxifen. As this metabolite penetrates through the skin, it is possible to compare percutaneous 4-OH-tamoxifen (4-OH-TAM) and oral tamoxifen treatments. We report herein a randomized study of percutaneous 4-OH-TAM versus oral tamoxifen in women with breast cancer. This pharmacology study was designed to compare the 4-OH-TAM concentration in breast cancer and normal breast tissue according to the route and dose used for administration of tamoxifen after a 3-week period prior to surgery and tissue sampling. Women were randomized into one of the five following groups: group I, oral tamoxifen given at 10 mg twice a day; group II, 4-OH-TAM delivered percutaneously at 0.5 mg day to both breast areas; group III, 4-OH-TAM applied percutaneously at 1 mg/day to both breast areas; group IV, 4-OH-TAM delivered percutaneously at 1 mg/day to a large cutaneous area excluding the breasts; and group V, 4-OH-TAM applied percutaneously at 2 mg/day to a large skin area excluding the breasts. 4-OH-TAM plasma and tissue concentrations were significantly higher in the oral tamoxifen group as compared with either the high- or the low-dose percutaneous 4-OH-TAM group. In group II, percutaneous 4-OH-TAM treatment resulted in tissue concentrations of 1,446 and 352 pg/g in tumour tissue and normal breast tissue, respectively. In group I these concentrations were as follows: tumour tissue, 12, 453 pg/g; and normal tissue, 10,214 pg/g. 4-OH-TAM concentrations in tumour tissue and normal breast tissue did not significantly differ in any group. In the oral group we observed classic effects on coagulation and lipid metabolism when pre- and post-treatment values of these biological variables were compared, whereas no difference was observed in the percutaneous group. Although percutaneous administration of 4-OH-TAM led to a low plasmatic concentration of this active metabolite, the breast tissue concentration remained lower than those observed after oral tamoxifen treatment. Therefore, at the doses described in this study, percutaneous 4-OH-TAM cannot be proposed as an alternative tamoxifen treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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