Few markers are available that can predict response to tamoxifen treatment in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers. Identification of such markers would be clinically useful. We attempted to identify molecular markers associated with tamoxifen failure in breast cancer.
Eighteen initially ER-positive patients treated with tamoxifen requiring salvage surgery (tamoxifen failure [TF] patients) were compared with 17 patients who were disease free 5 years after surgery plus tamoxifen adjuvant therapy (control patients). cDNA microarray, real-time quantitative PCR, and immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays were used to generate and confirm a gene signature associated with tamoxifen failure. An independent series of 33 breast tumor samples from patients who relapsed (n = 14) or did not relapse (n = 19) under tamoxifen treatment from a different geographic location was subsequently used to explore the gene expression signature identified.
Using a screening set of 18 tumor samples (from eight control patients and 10 TF patients), a 47-gene signature discriminating between TF and control samples was identified using cDNA arrays. In addition to ESR1/ERα, the top-ranked genes selected by statistical cross-analyses were MET, FOS, SNCG, IGFBP4, and BCL2, which were subsequently validated in a larger set of tumor samples (from 17 control patients and 18 TF patients). Confirmation at the protein level by tissue microarray immunohistochemistry was observed for ER-α, γ-synuclein, and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 4 proteins in the 35 original samples. In an independent series of breast tumor samples (19 nonrelapsing and 14 relapsing), reduced expression of ESR1/ERα, IGFBP4, SNCG, BCL2, and FOS was observed in the relapsing group and was associated with a shorter overall survival. Low mRNA expression levels of ESR1/ERα, BCL2, and FOS were also associated with a shorter relapse-free survival (RFS). Using a Cox multivariate regression analysis, we identified BCL2 and FOS as independent prognostic markers associated with RFS. Finally, the BCL2/FOS signature was demonstrated to have more accurate prognostic value for RFS than ESR1/ERα alone (likelihood ratio test).
We identified molecular markers including a BCL2/FOS signature associated with tamoxifen failure; these markers may have clinical potential in the management of ER-positive breast cancer.
Tamoxifen resistance is a major cause of death in patients with recurrent breast cancer. Current clinical factors can correctly predict therapy response in only half of the treated patients. Identification of proteins that are associated with tamoxifen resistance is a first step toward better response prediction and tailored treatment of patients. In the present study we intended to identify putative protein biomarkers indicative of tamoxifen therapy resistance in breast cancer using nano-LC coupled with FTICR MS. Comparative proteome analysis was performed on ∼5,500 pooled tumor cells (corresponding to ∼550 ng of protein lysate/analysis) obtained through laser capture microdissection (LCM) from two independently processed data sets (n = 24 and n = 27) containing both tamoxifen therapy-sensitive and therapy-resistant tumors. Peptides and proteins were identified by matching mass and elution time of newly acquired LC-MS features to information in previously generated accurate mass and time tag reference databases. A total of 17,263 unique peptides were identified that corresponded to 2,556 non-redundant proteins identified with ≥2 peptides. 1,713 overlapping proteins between the two data sets were used for further analysis. Comparative proteome analysis revealed 100 putatively differentially abundant proteins between tamoxifen-sensitive and tamoxifen-resistant tumors. The presence and relative abundance for 47 differentially abundant proteins were verified by targeted nano-LC-MS/MS in a selection of unpooled, non-microdissected discovery set tumor tissue extracts. ENPP1, EIF3E, and GNB4 were significantly associated with progression-free survival upon tamoxifen treatment for recurrent disease. Differential abundance of our top discriminating protein, extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer, was validated by tissue microarray in an independent patient cohort (n = 156). Extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer levels were higher in therapy-resistant tumors and significantly associated with an earlier tumor progression following first line tamoxifen treatment (hazard ratio, 1.87; 95% confidence interval, 1.25–2.80; p = 0.002). In summary, comparative proteomics performed on laser capture microdissection-derived breast tumor cells using nano-LC-FTICR MS technology revealed a set of putative biomarkers associated with tamoxifen therapy resistance in recurrent breast cancer.
The metabolism of tamoxifen is being redefined in the light of several important pharmacological observations. Recent studies have identified 4-hydroxy N-desmethyl tamoxifen (endoxifen) as an important metabolite of tamoxifen necessary for antitumor actions. The metabolite is formed through the enzymatic product of CYP2D6 which also interacts with specific selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to prevent the hot flashes observed in up to 45% of patients taking tamoxifen. Additionally, the finding that enzyme variants of CYP2D6 do not promote the metabolism of tamoxifen to endoxifen means that significant numbers of women might not receive optimal benefit from tamoxifen treatment. Clearly these are particularly important issues not only for breast cancer treatment but also for selecting premenopausal women, at high risk for breast cancer, as candidates for chemoprevention using tamoxifen.
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; raloxifene; selective estrogen receptor modulators; ospemifene; arzoxifene
Tamoxifen is widely used for endocrine treatment and breast cancer prevention. It acts as both an estrogen antagonist in breast tissue and an estrogen agonist in the female lower genital tract. Tamoxifen causes severe gynecologic side effects, such as endometrial cancer. This review focuses on the effects of prolonged tamoxifen treatment on the human female genital tract and considers its tumorigenicity in the gynecologic organs through clinical data analysis. Tamoxifen is associated with an increased incidence of benign endometrial lesions such as polyps and hyperplasia and a two- to four-fold increased risk of endometrial cancer in postmenopausal patients. Moreover, the incidence of functional ovarian cysts is significantly high in premenopausal tamoxifen users. To prevent tamoxifen from having severe side effects in gynecologic organs, frequent gynecological examination should be performed for both premenopausal and postmenopausal patients with breast cancer who are treated with this drug.
tamoxifen; tumorigenicity; ovary; uterus; estrogenicity; breast cancer
Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, is the standard of care for premenopausal women with estrogen or progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer and a valid option for treating post-menopausal women. However, a substantial number of tamoxifen-treated patients relapse following surgical resection, while remain disease-free for many years. It appears that the primary effectors of tamoxifen activity are its active metabolites, rather than tamoxifen itself. Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, CYP2D6 in particular, play a major role in the metabolism of tamoxifen to active metabolites. More than 75 germline CYP2D6 variants have been identified.
A test predicting lack of response to tamoxifen could supplement information used by clinicians and patients in treatment decision-making. For example, physicians and patients may opt to switch to an alternative therapy upfront.
Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, is the standard of care for premenopausal women with estrogen or progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer and a valid option for treating post-menopausal women. However, a substantial number of tamoxifen-treated patients relapse following surgical resection, while others remain disease-free for many years. It appears that the primary effectors of tamoxifen activity are its active metabolites, rather than tamoxifen itself. Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, CYP2D6 in particular, play a major role in the metabolism of tamoxifen to active metabolites. More than 75 germline CYP2D6 variants have been identified.
A test predicting lack of response to tamoxifen could supplement information used by clinicians and patients in treatment decision-making. For example, physicians and patients may opt to switch to an alternative therapy upfront.
Estrogen receptor (ER) α is a successful therapeutic target in breast cancer, but patients eventually develop resistance to antiestrogens such as tamoxifen.
To identify genes whose expression was associated with the development of tamoxifen resistance and metastasis, we used microarrays to compare gene expression in four primary tumors from tamoxifen-treated patients whose breast cancers did not recur vs five metastatic tumors from patients whose cancers progressed during adjuvant tamoxifen treatment. Because Rho guanine dissociation inhibitor (GDI) α was underexpressed in the tamoxifen-resistant group, we stably transfected ERα-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells with a plasmid encoding a short hairpin (sh) RNA to silence Rho GDIα expression. We used immunoblots and transcription assays to examine the role of Rho GDIα in ER-related signaling and growth of cells in vitro and as xenografts in treated nude mice (n = 8–9 per group) to examine the effects of Rho GDIα blockade on hormone responsiveness and metastatic behavior. The time to tumor tripling as the time in weeks from randomization to a threefold increase in total tumor volume over baseline was examined in treated mice. The associations of Rho GDIα and MTA2 levels with tamoxifen resistance were examined in microarray data from patients. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Rho GDIα was expressed at lower levels in ERα-positive tumors that recurred during tamoxifen treatment than in ERα-positive tamoxifen-sensitive primary tumors. MCF-7 breast cancer cells in which Rho GDIα expression had been silenced were tamoxifen-resistant, had increased Rho GTPase and p21-activated kinase 1 activity, increased phosphorylation of ERα at serine 305, and enhanced tamoxifen-induced ERα transcriptional activity compared with control cells. MCF-7 cells in which Rho GDIα expression was silenced metastasized with high frequency when grown as tumor xenografts. When mice were treated with estrogen or estrogen withdrawal, tripling times for xenografts from cells with Rho GDIα silencing were similar to those from vector-containing control cells; however, tripling times were statistically significantly faster than control when mice were treated with tamoxifen (median tripling time for tumors with Rho GDIα small interfering RNA = 2.34 weeks; for control tumors = not reached, hazard ratio = 4.13, 95% confidence interval = 1.07 to 15.96, P = .040 [adjusted for multiple comparisons, P = .119]). Levels of the metastasis-associated protein MTA2 were also increased upon Rho GDIα silencing, and combined Rho GDIα and MTA2 levels were associated with recurrence in 250 tamoxifen-treated patients.
Loss of Rho GDIα enhances metastasis and resistance to tamoxifen via effects on both ERα and MTA2 in models of ERα-positive breast cancer and in tumors of tamoxifen-treated patients.
Women have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) compared with age-matched men. Neuro-protective effects of estrogen potentially explain this difference. Tamoxifen, commonly used in breast cancer treatment, may interfere with the protective effects of estrogen and increase risk of PD. We compared the rate of PD in Danish breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen to the rate among those not treated with tamoxifen.
A cohort of 15,419 breast cancer patients identified from the Danish Breast Cancer Collaborative Group database was linked to the National Registry of Patients to identify PD diagnoses. Overall risk and rate of PD following identification into the study was compared between patients treated with tamoxifen as adjuvant hormonal therapy and patients not receiving tamoxifen. Time-dependent effects of tamoxifen treatment on PD rate were examined to estimate the likely induction period for tamoxifen.
In total, 35 cases of PD were identified among the 15,419 breast cancer patients. No overall effect of tamoxifen on rate of PD was observed (HR = 1.3, 95% CI: 0.64-2.5), but a PD hazard ratio of 5.1 (95% CI: 1.0-25) was seen four to six years following initiation of tamoxifen treatment.
These results provide evidence that the neuro-protective properties of estrogen against PD occurrence may be disrupted by tamoxifen therapy. Tamoxifen treatments may be associated with an increased rate of PD; however these effects act after four years, are of limited duration, and the adverse effect is overwhelmed by the protection against breast recurrence conferred by tamoxifen therapy.
Tamoxifen reduces the risk of developing breast cancer but also affects the risks of certain vascular and neoplastic events. Our purpose was to estimate the effects of tamoxifen on potentially life-threatening vascular and neoplastic outcomes.
Random effects meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials.
Participants in all trials in which a treatment arm that included tamoxifen was compared to a similar control arm. Breast cancer risk reduction and treatment trials were included.
Tamoxifen at variable dose and duration.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS
Thirty-two trials (52,929 patients) reported one or more outcomes of interest. Tamoxifen was associated with significantly increased risks of endometrial cancer (relative risk [RR] 2.70; 95% CI, 1.94 to 3.75), gastrointestinal cancers (RR 1.31; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.69), strokes (RR 1.49; 95% CI, 1.16 to 1.90), and pulmonary emboli (RR 1.88; 95% CI, 1.77 to 3.01). Tamoxifen had no effect on secondary malignancies other than endometrial and gastrointestinal cancers (RR 0.96; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.13). In contrast, tamoxifen significantly decreased myocardial infarction deaths (RR 0.62; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.93) and was associated with a statistically insignificant decrease in myocardial infarction incidence (RR 0.90; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.23). Postmenopausal women had greater risk increases for neoplastic outcomes.
This meta-analysis of randomized trials found tamoxifen use to be significantly associated with several neoplastic and vascular outcomes. Consideration of tamoxifen use requires balance of potential benefits and risks.
tamoxifen; adverse events; selective estrogen receptor modulators; chemoprevention
Tamoxifen was approved for breast cancer risk reduction in high-risk women based on the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (P-1:BCPT), which showed 50% fewer breast cancers with tamoxifen versus placebo, supporting tamoxifen's efficacy in preventing breast cancer. Poor metabolizing CYP2D6 variants are currently the subject of intensive scrutiny regarding their impact on clinical outcomes in the adjuvant setting. Our study extends to variants in a wider spectrum of tamoxifen-metabolizing genes and applies to the prevention setting.
Our case-only study, nested within P-1:BCPT, explored associations of polymorphisms in estrogen/tamoxifen-metabolizing genes with responsiveness to preventive tamoxifen. Thirty-nine candidate polymorphisms in 17 candidate genes were genotyped in 249 P-1:BCPT cases.
CYP2D6_C1111T, individually and within a CYP2D6 haplotype, showed borderline significant association with treatment arm. Path analysis of the entire tamoxifen pathway gene network showed that the tamoxifen pathway model was consistent with the pattern of observed genotype variability within the placebo-arm dataset. However, correlation of variations in genes in the tamoxifen arm differed significantly from the predictions of the tamoxifen pathway model. Strong correlations between allelic variation in the tamoxifen pathway at CYP1A1-CYP3A4, CYP3A4-CYP2C9, and CYP2C9-SULT1A2, in addition to CYP2D6 and its adjacent genes, were seen in the placebo-arm but not the tamoxifen-arm. In conclusion, beyond reinforcing a role for CYP2D6 in tamoxifen response, our pathway analysis strongly suggests that specific combinations of allelic variants in other genes make major contributions to the tamoxifen-resistance phenotype.
Breast cancer; tamoxifen resistance; chemoprevention; pathway analysis; breast cancer risk; genomic polymorphisms
Purpose: Tamoxifen was approved for breast cancer risk reduction in high-risk women based on the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (P-1:BCPT), which showed 50% fewer breast cancers with tamoxifen versus placebo, supporting tamoxifen's efficacy in preventing breast cancer. Poor metabolizing CYP2D6 variants are currently the subject of intensive scrutiny regarding their impact on clinical outcomes in the adjuvant setting. Our study extends to variants in a wider spectrum of tamoxifen-metabolizing genes and applies to the prevention setting. Methods: Our case-only study, nested within P-1:BCPT, explored associations of polymorphisms in estrogen/tamoxifen-metabolizing genes with responsiveness to preventive tamoxifen. Thirty-nine candidate polymorphisms in 17 candidate genes were genotyped in 249 P-1:BCPT cases. Results: CVP2D6_C1111T, individually and within a CYP2D6 haplotype, showed borderline significant association with treatment arm. Path analysis of the entire tamoxifen pathway gene network showed that the tamoxifen pathway model was consistent with the pattern of observed genotype variability within the placebo-arm dataset. However, correlation of variations in genes in the tamoxifen arm differed significantly from the predictions of the tamoxifen pathway model. Strong correlations between allelic variation in the tamoxifen pathway at CYP1A1-CYP3A4, CYP3A4-CYP2C9, and CYP2C9-SULT1A2, in addition to CYP2D6 and its adjacent genes, were seen in the placebo-arm but not the tamoxifen-arm. In conclusion, beyond reinforcing a role for CYP2D6 in tamoxifen response, our pathway analysis strongly suggests that specific combinations of allelic variants in other genes make major contributions to the tamoxifen-resistance phenotype.
Breast cancer; tamoxifen resistance; chemoprevention; pathway analysis; breast cancer risk; genomic
Amplification of the ESR1 gene, coding for estrogen receptor alpha, was shown to predict responsiveness to tamoxifen, however its prognostic impact in breast cancer patients has not been thoroughly investigated. Other factors that could contribute to responsiveness to tamoxifen treatment are polymorphisms in ESR1 gene and genes involved in tamoxifen metabolism.
The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic role of ESR1 gene dosage in a consecutive group of breast cancer patients and to correlate this feature with clinico-pathological factors. Additionally, ESR1 PvuII, CYP2C19*2 and UGT2B15*2 polymorphisms were analyzed in the tamoxifen-treated subgroup of patients.
Materials and Methods
Primary tumor samples from 281 stage I-III consecutive breast cancer patients were analyzed for ESR1 gene dosage using real-time PCR with locked nucleic acids hydrolysis probes. In the tamoxifen-treated subgroup of patients, ESR1 PvuII, CYP2C19*2 and UGT2B15*2 polymorphism in leukocytes genomic DNA were analyzed. Results were correlated with clinico-pathological factors and with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).
ESR1 amplification (with a cut-off level of 2.0) was found in 12% of the entire group of breast cancer patients, and in 18% of the ER-negative subgroup. This feature was associated with decreased DFS both in the entire group (P=0.007) and in the ER-negative subgroup (P=0.03), but not in the tamoxifen-treated patients.
Patients with ESR1 PvuII wt/wt genotype and at least one UGT2B15 wt allele had a worse DFS (P=0.03) and showed a trend towards decreased Os (P=0.08) in comparison to patients with ESR1 PvuII wt/vt or vt/vt genotype and UGT2B15 *2/*2 genotype.
ESR1 amplification can occur in ER-negative tumors and may carry poor prognosis. In the tamoxifen-treated subgroup, poor prognosis was related to the combined presence of ESR1 PvuII wt/wt and UGT2B15wt/wt or wt/*2 genotype.
Estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers (BC) are heterogeneous with regard to their clinical behavior and response to therapies. The ER is currently the best predictor of response to the anti-estrogen agent tamoxifen, yet up to 30–40% of ER+BC will relapse despite tamoxifen treatment. New prognostic biomarkers and further biological understanding of tamoxifen resistance are required. We used gene expression profiling to develop an outcome-based predictor using a training set of 255 ER+ BC samples from women treated with adjuvant tamoxifen monotherapy. We used clusters of highly correlated genes to develop our predictor to facilitate both signature stability and biological interpretation. Independent validation was performed using 362 tamoxifen-treated ER+ BC samples obtained from multiple institutions and treated with tamoxifen only in the adjuvant and metastatic settings.
We developed a gene classifier consisting of 181 genes belonging to 13 biological clusters. In the independent set of adjuvantly-treated samples, it was able to define two distinct prognostic groups (HR 2.01 95%CI: 1.29–3.13; p = 0.002). Six of the 13 gene clusters represented pathways involved in cell cycle and proliferation. In 112 metastatic breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen, one of the classifier components suggesting a cellular inflammatory mechanism was significantly predictive of response.
We have developed a gene classifier that can predict clinical outcome in tamoxifen-treated ER+ BC patients. Whilst our study emphasizes the important role of proliferation genes in prognosis, our approach proposes other genes and pathways that may elucidate further mechanisms that influence clinical outcome and prediction of response to tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen is a widely known anti-estrogen which has been employed in adjuvant treatment of early-stage, estrogen-sensitive breast cancer for over 20 years. Less well known are the effects of tamoxifen on immune function, which we discuss here. We review the growing body of evidence which demonstrates immunomodulatory effects of tamoxifen, including in vitro and in vivo studies as well as observations made in breast cancer patients treated with tamoxifen. Taken together these studies suggest that tamoxifen is capable of inducing a shift from cellular (T-helper 1) to humoral (T-helper 2) immunity. Interestingly, the immunomodulatory effects of tamoxifen appear to be independent of the estrogen-receptor and may be mediated through the multi-drug resistance gene product, Permeability-glycoprotein, for which a role in immunity has recently emerged. We furthermore discuss the clinical implications of the immunomodulatory effects of tamoxifen which are twofold. First, tamoxifen may be utilized in the treatment of immune-mediated disorders, particularly of those arising from aberrant T-helper 1 cell activity, including allograft rejection, Crohn’s disease, and Th1-mediated autoimmune conditions such as diabetes mellitus, scleroderma, and multiple sclerosis. Second, given that cellular T-helper 1 immunity is targeted against cancer cells, the tamoxifen-induced shift away from cellular immunity represents a significant step in fostering a cancerogenic environment. This may limit the anti-cancer effects of tamoxifen and thus explain why tamoxifen is inferior compared to other anti-estrogens in preventing disease recurrence in early-stage breast tumors.
Tamoxifen; immunity; modulation; Permeability-glycoprotein; P-glycoprotein
Acquired resistance to Tamoxifen remains a critical problem in breast cancer patient treatment, yet the underlying causes of resistance have not been fully elucidated. Abberations in the Wnt signalling pathway have been linked to many human cancers, including breast cancer, and appear to be associated with more metastatic and aggressive types of cancer. Here, our aim was to investigate if this key pathway was involved in acquired Tamoxifen resistance, and could be targeted therapeutically.
An in vitro model of acquired Tamoxifen resistance (named TamR) was generated by growing the estrogen receptor alpha (ER) positive MCF7 breast cancer cell line in increasing concentrations of Tamoxifen (up to 5 uM). Alterations in the Wnt signalling pathway and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in response to Tamoxifen and treatment with the Wnt inhibitor, IWP-2 were measured via quantitative RT-PCR (qPCR) and TOP/FOP Wnt reporter assays. Resistance to Tamoxifen, and effects of IWP-2 treatment were determined by MTT proliferation assays.
TamR cells exhibited increased Wnt signalling as measured via the TOP/FOP Wnt luciferase reporter assays. Genes associated with both the β-catenin dependent (AXIN2, MYC, CSNK1A1) and independent arms (ROR2, JUN), as well as general Wnt secretion (PORCN) of the Wnt signalling pathway were upregulated in the TamR cells compared to the parental MCF7 cell line. Treatment of the TamR cell line with human recombinant Wnt3a (rWnt3a) further increased the resistance of both MCF7 and TamR cells to the anti-proliferative effects of Tamoxifen treatment. TamR cells demonstrated increased expression of EMT markers (VIM, TWIST1, SNAI2) and decreased CDH1, which may contribute to their resistance to Tamoxifen. Treatment with the Wnt inhibitor, IWP-2 inhibited cell proliferation and markers of EMT.
These data support the role of the Wnt signalling pathway in acquired resistance to Tamoxifen. Further research into the mechanism by which activated Wnt signalling inhibits the effects of Tamoxifen should be undertaken. As a number of small molecules targeting the Wnt pathway are currently in pre-clinical development, combinatorial treatment with endocrine agents and Wnt pathway inhibitors may be a useful therapeutic option in the future for a subset of breast cancer patients.
Wnt-signalling; Breast cancer; Tamoxifen resistant; Endocrine resistant; Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT); IWP-2
The philosophy behind personalized medicine is that each patient has a unique biologic profile that should guide the choice of therapy, resulting in an improved treatment outcome, ideally with reduced toxicity. Thus, there has been increasing interest in identifying genetic variations that are predictive of a drug’s efficacy or toxicity. Although it is one of the most effective drugs for treating breast cancer, tamoxifen is not effective in all estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer patients, and it is frequently associated with side effects, such as hot flashes. Relative resistance to tamoxifen treatment may be a result, in part, from impaired drug activation by cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Indeed, recent studies have identified allelic variations in CYP2D6 to be an important determinant of tamoxifen’s activity (and toxicity). This article will summarize the current information regarding the influence of the major genotypes and CYP2D6 inhibitors on tamoxifen metabolism, with a focus on its clinical utility and the current level of evidence for CYP2D6 genotyping of patients who are candidates for tamoxifen treatment.
Five years of tamoxifen reduces breast cancer risk by nearly 50% but is associated with significant side-effects and toxicities. A better understanding of the direct and indirect effects of tamoxifen in benign breast tissue could elucidate new mechanisms of breast carcinogenesis, suggest novel chemoprevention targets, and provide relevant early response biomarkers for Phase II prevention trials.
Seventy-three women at increased risk for breast cancer were randomized to tamoxifen (20 mg daily) or placebo for three months. Blood and breast tissue samples were collected at baseline and post-treatment. Sixty-nine women completed all study activities (37 tamoxifen and 32 placebo). The selected biomarkers focused on estradiol and IGFs in the blood, DNA methylation and cytology in random periareolar fine needle aspirates, and tissue morphometry, proliferation, apoptosis, and gene expression (microarray and RT-PCR) in the tissue core samples.
Tamoxifen downregulated ets-oncogene transcription factor family members ETV4 and ETV5 and reduced breast epithelial cell proliferation independent of CYP2D6 genotypes or effects on estradiol, ESR1 or IGFs. Reduction in proliferation was correlated with downregulation of ETV4 and DNAJC12. Tamoxifen reduced the expression of ETV4- and ETV5-regulated genes implicated in epithelial-stromal interaction and tissue remodeling. Three months of tamoxifen did not affect breast tissue composition, cytological atypia, preneoplasia or apoptosis.
A plausible mechanism for the chemopreventive effects of tamoxifen is restriction of lobular expansion into stroma through downregulation of ETV4 and ETV5. Multipotential progenitor cap cells of terminal end buds may be the primary target.
Tamoxifen; Biomarkers; Gene Expression; Proliferation; DNA Methylation
To evaluate evidence on the association between CYP2D6 genotype and tamoxifen response through.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective, cross-sectional and case-control studies published to 2012. For each study, relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were extracted and pooled with a fixed and random effects model. Heterogeneity, publication bias, subgroup, and meta-regression analyses were performed.
PubMed (inception-2012) and EMBASE (inception-2012).
Eligibility Criteria for Selecting Studies
Criteria for inclusion were studies reporting breast cancer outcomes in patients treated with tamoxifen and genotyped for polymorphisms in the CYP2D6 gene.
Twenty-five studies of 13,629 individuals were identified, of which 22 investigated the association of CYP2D6 genotype with outcomes in breast cancer women all receiving tamoxifen treatment (“treatment-only” design). Three randomized trials evaluated the effect of CYP2D6 genotype on tamoxifen response (“effect modification” design). In analysis of treatment-only studies, the relative risk (RR) of all-cause mortality (>307 events in 4,936 patients) for carriers of a CYP2D6 reduced function allele was 1.11 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.94 to 1.31) compared to individuals with normal/increased function CYP2D6 alleles. When we investigated a composite outcome including all-cause mortality and surrogate endpoints for overall survival (>307 events in 6,721 patients), carriers of a CYP2D6 reduced function allele had a RR of 1.27 (95% CI: 1.11 to 1.45). From two randomized trials that permitted effect-modification analysis, one had only 154 patients and showed evidence of effect modification of tamoxifen by CYP2D6 genotype for distant recurrence but was directionally opposite to that predicted, whereas a larger trial of 2,537 patients failed to show evidence of effect modification for breast cancer-free interval (P values for interaction 0.02 and 0.44, respectively).
Based on these findings, there is insufficient evidence to recommend CYP2D6 genotyping to guide tamoxifen treatment.
Tamoxifen decreases breast cancer recurrence, mortality, and breast cancer risk in high-risk women. Despite these proven benefits, tamoxifen use is often limited due to side effects. We identified predictors of tamoxifen-induced side effects based on clinical variables and serum tamoxifen metabolite biomarkers in a cross-sectional study of patients taking tamoxifen. We enrolled 241 women and collected data on demographics, tamoxifen use and side effects, as well as potential clinical and serum predictors. We used logistic regression models and adjusted for age, body mass index, ethnicity, education, prior post-menopausal hormone therapy, tamoxifen duration, and endoxifen levels to identify factors associated with side effects. Common tamoxifen attributed side effects were hot flashes (64%), vaginal dryness (35%), sleep problems (36%), weight gain (6%), and depression, irritability or mood swings (6%). In multi-variate models, tamoxifen duration, age, prior post-menopausal hormone therapy, and endoxifen levels all predicted side effects. Women who had been on tamoxifen for >12 months were less likely to report side effects (OR 0.15, 95% CI, 0.04–0.58) or severe side effects (OR 0.05, 95% CI, 0.005–0.58) compared to women on tamoxifen for <12 months. Compared to women younger than 50, women who were age 60–70 and older than 70 were less likely to report side effects (OR 0.22, 95% CI, 0.03–1.35; OR 0.13, 95% CI, 0.01–0.99; respectively). Women who previously took post-menopausal hormone therapy were more likely to report severe side effects. Women with higher endoxifen levels were more likely to report side effects (OR 1.67, 95% CI, 1.01–2.77 per standard deviation increase in endoxifen). Clinicians should consider closely monitoring adherence in women taking tamoxifen, especially in younger women, and women who previously took hormone therapy. The association between endoxifen levels and side effects is consistent with the data that suggest that endoxifen is the most highly active metabolite of tamoxifen.
Tamoxifen; side effects; predictors; biomarkers; endoxifen; breast cancer treatment
Understanding the molecular pathways that contribute to the development of tamoxifen resistance is a critical research priority as acquired tamoxifen resistance is the principal cause of poor prognosis and death of patients with originally good prognosis hormone-responsive breast tumors. In this report, we provide evidence that Med1, an important subunit of mediator coactivator complex, is spontaneously upregulated during acquired tamoxifen-resistance development potentiating agonist activities of tamoxifen. Phosphorylated Med1 and estrogen receptor (ER) are abundant in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells due to persistent activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases. Mechanistically, phosphorylated Med1 exhibits nuclear accumulation, increased interaction with ER and higher tamoxifen-induced recruitment to ER-responsive promoters, which is abrogated by inhibition of Med1 phosphorylation. Stable knockdown of Med1 in tamoxifen-resistant cells not only reverses tamoxifen resistance in vitro but also in vivo. Finally, higher expression levels of Med1 in the tumor significantly correlated with tamoxifen resistance in ER-positive breast cancer patients on adjuvant tamoxifen monotherapy. In silico analysis of breast cancer, utilizing published profiling studies showed that Med1 is overexpressed in aggressive subsets. These findings provide what we believe is the first evidence for a critical role for Med1 in tamoxifen resistance and identify this coactivator protein as an essential effector of the tamoxifen-induced breast cancer growth.
Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator with both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity, is widely used as adjuvant therapy in breast cancer patients. Treatment with tamoxifen is associated with sexual side effects, such as increased vaginal dryness and pain/discomfort during sexual activity. There have been limited investigations of the effect of tamoxifen on estrogen-dependent peripheral genital arousal responses. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of tamoxifen on vaginal physiology in the rat.
Female Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to sham surgery or bilateral ovariectomy. After 2 weeks, sham-operated rats were implanted with subcutaneous osmotic infusion pumps containing vehicle (control) or tamoxifen (150 μg/day). Ovariectomized rats were similarly infused with vehicle. After an additional 2 weeks, vaginal blood flow responses to pelvic nerve stimulation were measured by laser Doppler flowmetry and vaginal tissue was collected for histological and biochemical assay.
Tamoxifen treatment did not change plasma estradiol concentrations relative to control animals, while ovariectomized rats exhibited a 60% decrease in plasma estradiol. Tamoxifen treatment caused a significant decrease in mean uterine weight, but did not alter mean vaginal weight. Vaginal blood flow was significantly decreased in tamoxifen-infused rats compared to controls. Similar to ovariectomized animals, estrogen receptor binding was increased and arginase enzyme activity was decreased in tamoxifen-infused rats. However, different from control and ovariectomized animals, the vaginal epithelium in tamoxifen-infused rats appeared highly mucified. Periodic acid-Schiff staining confirmed a greater production of carbohydrate-rich compounds (e.g. mucin, glycogen) by the vaginal epithelium of tamoxifen-infused rats.
The observations suggest that tamoxifen exerts both anti-estrogenic and pro-estrogenic effects in the vagina. These physiological alterations may eventually lead to vaginal atrophy and compromise sexual function.
Soy phytoestrogens, such as daidzein and its metabolite equol, have been proposed to be responsible for the low breast cancer rate in Asian women. Since the majority of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer patients are treated with tamoxifen, the basic objective of this study is to determine whether equol enhances tamoxifen’s anti-tumor effect, and to identify the molecular mechanisms involved.
For this purpose, we examined the individual and combined effects of equol and tamoxifen on the estrogen-dependent MCF-7 breast cancer cells using viability assays, annexin-V/PI staining, cell cycle and western blot analysis.
We found that equol (>50 μM) and 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen (4-OHT; >100 nM) significantly reduced the MCF-7 cell viability. Furthermore, the combination of equol (100 μM) and 4-OHT (10 μM) induced apoptosis more effectively than each compound alone. Subsequent treatment of MCF-7 cells with the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK inhibited equol- and 4-OHT-mediated apoptosis, which was accompanied by PARP and α-fodrin cleavage, indicating that apoptosis is mainly caspase-mediated. These compounds also induced a marked reduction in the bcl-2:bax ratio, which was accompanied by caspase-9 and caspase-7 activation and cytochrome-c release to the cytosol. Taken together, these data support the notion that the combination of equol and tamoxifen activates the intrinsic apoptotic pathway more efficiently than each compound alone.
Consequently, equol may be used therapeutically in combination treatments and clinical studies to enhance tamoxifen’s effect by providing additional protection against estrogen-responsive breast cancers.
Apoptosis; Breast cancer; Caspases; Equol; Tamoxifen
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified genetic variants associated with risk for breast cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms through which the identified variants confer risk or influence phenotypic expression remains poorly understood. Here, we present a novel integrative genomics approach that combines GWAS information with gene expression data to assess the combined contribution of multiple genetic variants acting within genes and putative biological pathways, and to identify novel genes and biological pathways that could not be identified using traditional GWAS. The results show that genes containing SNPs associated with risk for breast cancer are functionally related and interact with each other in biological pathways relevant to breast cancer. Additionally, we identified novel genes that are co-expressed and interact with genes containing SNPs associated with breast cancer. Integrative analysis combining GWAS information with gene expression data provides functional bridges between GWAS findings and biological pathways involved in breast cancer.
genome-wide association studies gene expression pathway
About two thirds of all human breast cancer cases are estrogen receptor positive.
The drug of first choice for these patients is tamoxifen. However, about half of the recurrences after removal of the primary tumor
are or become resistant to this drug. While many mechanisms have been identified for tamoxifen resistance in the lab, at present only a
few have been translated to the clinic. This paper highlights the role in tamoxifen resistance of phosphorylation by different kinases on different
sites of the estrogen receptor. We will discuss the molecular pathways and kinases that are involved in phosphorylation of ERα and how
these affect tamoxifen resistance. Finally, we will elaborate on the clinical translation of these observations and the possibility to predict tamoxifen
responses in patient tumor samples before treatment onset. The findings made originally on the bench may translate into a better and personalized
treatment of breast cancer patients using an old and safe anticancer drug: tamoxifen.
The cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes 2C19, 2D6, and 3A5 are responsible for converting the selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), tamoxifen to its active metabolites 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen (4OHtam) and 4-hydroxy-N-demethyltamoxifen (4OHNDtam, endoxifen). Inter-individual variations of the activity of these enzymes due to polymorphisms may be predictors of outcome of breast cancer patients during tamoxifen treatment. Since tamoxifen and estrogens are both partly metabolized by these enzymes we hypothesize that a correlation between serum tamoxifen and estrogen levels exists, which in turn may interact with tamoxifen on treatment outcome. Here we examined relationships between the serum levels of tamoxifen, estrogens, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and also determined the genotypes of CYP2C19, 2D6, 3A5, and SULT1A1 in 90 postmenopausal breast cancer patients.
Tamoxifen and its metabolites were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Estrogen and FSH levels were determined using a sensitive radio- and chemiluminescent immunoassay, respectively.
We observed significant correlations between the serum concentrations of tamoxifen, N-dedimethyltamoxifen, and tamoxifen-N-oxide and estrogens (p < 0.05). The genotype predicted CYP2C19 activity influenced the levels of both tamoxifen metabolites and E1.
We have shown an association between tamoxifen and its metabolites and estrogen serum levels. An impact of CYP2C19 predicted activity on tamoxifen, as well as estrogen kinetics may partly explain the observed association between tamoxifen and its metabolites and estrogen serum levels. Since the role of estrogen levels during tamoxifen therapy is still a matter of debate further prospective studies to examine the effect of tamoxifen and estrogen kinetics on treatment outcome are warranted.