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      Boronic prodrug of 4-hydroxytamoxifen is more efficacious than tamoxifen with enhanced bioavailability independent of CYP2D6 status

      , , , , ,

      BMC Cancer

      BioMed Central

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          Poor initial response to tamoxifen due to CYP2D6 polymorphism and adverse side effects are two clinical challenges in tamoxifen therapy. We report the development and preclinical testing of a boronic prodrug to orally deliver 4-OHT at therapeutically effective concentrations but at a fraction of the standard tamoxifen dose.


          A mouse xenograft tumor model was used to investigate the efficacy of ZB497 in comparison with tamoxifen. Pharmacokinetic studies were conducted to evaluate the metabolism and bioavailability of the drug in mice. Drug and metabolites distribution in xenograft tumor tissues was determined by high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.


          The boronic prodrug, ZB497, can not only be efficiently converted to 4-OHT in mice, but also afforded over 30 fold higher plasma concentrations of 4-OHT than in mice given either the same dose of 4-OHT or tamoxifen. Further, ZB497 was more effective than tamoxifen at lowered dosage in inhibiting the growth of xenograft tumors in mice. Consistent with these observations, ZB497 treated mice accumulated over 6 times higher total drug concentrations than tamoxifen treated mice.


          Our study demonstrates that ZB497 effectively delivers a markedly increased plasma concentration of 4-OHT in mice. The boronic prodrug was shown to have far superior bioavailability of 4-OHT compared to tamoxifen or 4-OHT administration as measured by the area under the plasma concentration time curve (AUC), plasma peak concentrations, and drug accumulation in tumor tissues. Further, ZB497 proves to be a more efficacious hormone therapy than tamoxifen administered at a reduced dose in mice.

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          Most cited references 24

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          PKSolver: An add-in program for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data analysis in Microsoft Excel.

          This study presents PKSolver, a freely available menu-driven add-in program for Microsoft Excel written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), for solving basic problems in pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) data analysis. The program provides a range of modules for PK and PD analysis including noncompartmental analysis (NCA), compartmental analysis (CA), and pharmacodynamic modeling. Two special built-in modules, multiple absorption sites (MAS) and enterohepatic circulation (EHC), were developed for fitting the double-peak concentration-time profile based on the classical one-compartment model. In addition, twenty frequently used pharmacokinetic functions were encoded as a macro and can be directly accessed in an Excel spreadsheet. To evaluate the program, a detailed comparison of modeling PK data using PKSolver and professional PK/PD software package WinNonlin and Scientist was performed. The results showed that the parameters estimated with PKSolver were satisfactory. In conclusion, the PKSolver simplified the PK and PD data analysis process and its output could be generated in Microsoft Word in the form of an integrated report. The program provides pharmacokinetic researchers with a fast and easy-to-use tool for routine and basic PK and PD data analysis with a more user-friendly interface. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Comprehensive evaluation of tamoxifen sequential biotransformation by the human cytochrome P450 system in vitro: prominent roles for CYP3A and CYP2D6.

            We performed comprehensive kinetic, inhibition, and correlation analyses in human liver microsomes and experiments in expressed human cytochromes P450 (P450s) to identify primary and secondary metabolic routes of tamoxifen (TAM) and the P450s catalyzing these reactions at therapeutically relevant concentrations. N-Desmethyl-TAM formation catalyzed by CYP3A4/5 was quantitatively the major primary metabolite of TAM; 4-hydroxy-TAM formation catalyzed by CYP2D6 (and other P450s) represents a minor route. Other minor primary metabolites include alpha -, 3-, and 4'-hydroxyTAM and one unidentified metabolite (M-I) and were primarily catalyzed by CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP2B6/2C19, and CYP3A4, respectively. TAM secondary metabolism was examined using N-desmethyl- and 4-hydroxy-TAM as intermediate substrates. N-Desmethyl-TAM was predominantly biotransformed to alpha-hydroxy N-desmethyl-, N-didesmethyl-, and 4-hydroxy N-desmethyl-TAM (endoxifen), whereas 4-hydroxy-TAM was converted to 3,4-dihydroxyTAM and endoxifen. Except for the biotransformation of N-desmethyl-TAM to endoxifen, which was exclusively catalyzed by CYP2D6, all other routes of N-desmethyl- and 4-hydroxy-TAM biotransformation were catalyzed predominantly by the CYP3A subfamily. TAM and its primary metabolites undergo extensive oxidation, principally by CYP3A and CYP2D6 to metabolites that exhibit a range of pharmacological effects. Variable activity of these P450s, brought about by genetic polymorphisms and drug interactions, may alter the balance of TAM effects in vivo.
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              Pharmacological characterization of 4-hydroxy-N-desmethyl tamoxifen, a novel active metabolite of tamoxifen.

              The antiestrogen tamoxifen is extensively metabolized in patients to form a series of compounds with altered affinity for estrogen receptors (ERs), the primary target of this drug. Furthermore, these metabolites exhibit a range of partial agonist and antagonist activities for ER mediated effects that do not depend directly on their absolute affinity for ERs. Thus, clinical response to tamoxifen therapy is likely to depend on the aggregate effect of these different metabolites resulting from their abundance in the patient, their affinity for the receptors, and their agonist/antagonist profile. A recent study has shown that plasma concentrations of the tamoxifen metabolite 4-hydroxy- N -desmethyl tamoxifen (endoxifen), in patents undergoing tamoxifen therapy, are dependent on the cytochrome p450 (CYP) 206 ge notype of the patient and that medications commonly prescribed to patients on tamoxifen therapy can also inhibit endoxifen production. In this study we characterized the properties of this metabolite with respect to binding to ERs, ability to inhibit estrogen stimulated breast cancer cell proliferation and the regulation of estrogen responsive genes. We demonstrate that endoxifen has essentially equivalent activity to the potent metabolite 4-hydroxy tamoxifen (4-OH-tam) often described as the active metabolite of this drug. Since plasma levels of endoxifen in patients with functional CYP2D6 frequently exceed the levels of 4-OH-tam, it seems likely that endoxifen is at least as important as 4-OH-tam to the overall activity of this drug and suggests that CYP2D6 status and concomitant administration of drugs that inhibit CYP2D6 activity have the potential to affect response to tamoxifen therapy.

                Author and article information

                BMC Cancer
                BMC Cancer
                BMC Cancer
                BioMed Central (London )
                9 September 2015
                9 September 2015
                : 15
                [ ]RCMI Cancer Research Center and Department of Chemistry, Xavier University of Louisiana, 1 Drexel Dr., New Orleans, LA 70125 USA
                [ ]Department of Genetics and LSU Stanley Scott Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center, 1 Drexel Dr., New Orleans, LA 70112 USA
                © Zhong et al. 2015

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Oncology & Radiotherapy


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