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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1993;31(5):412-4.

Targeting chemosensitizing doses of toremifene based on protein binding.

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Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7884.


Toremifene is currently being evaluated as a chemosensitizing agent in doxorubicin-resistant patients. Although concentrations of > 2 microM reverse resistance in vitro, target concentrations required to reverse multidrug resistance (MDR) in vivo may be highly influenced by variables such as protein binding in serum. We examined the effects of high serum concentrations on the cellular accumulation of toremifene in an MDR MDA-MB-A-1 human breast-cancer cell line. We then examined the cellular accumulation of doxorubicin at various toremifene concentrations in 5% - 100% serum. We also measured the concentrations of toremifene and its major metabolites in plasma specimens obtained from two patients receiving 360 mg/day for 5 days in a phase I study. Our results show that (1) high serum concentrations decrease toremifene accumulation, (2) toremifene concentrations of < or = 2.5 microM enhance doxorubicin accumulation, and (3) patients achieve plasma toremifene concentrations of 10-15 microM following doses of 360 mg/day x 5 days. Our findings suggest that in vivo toremifene concentrations well above those used to reverse resistance in vitro are required to overcome the effect of high serum-protein binding.

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