The aromatase inactivator 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A) inhibits tamoxifen metabolism by rat hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A: potential for drug-drug interaction of tamoxifen and 4-OH-A in combined anti-breast cancer therapy.Drug Metab Dispos. 1999 Mar; 27(3):389-94.DM
Tamoxifen (tam), an anti-breast cancer agent, is metabolized into tam-N-oxide by the hepatic flavin-containing monooxygenase and into N-desmethyl- and 4-hydroxy-tam by cytochrome P-450s (CYPs). Additionally, tam is metabolically activated by hepatic CYP3A, forming a reactive intermediate that binds covalently to proteins. Tam and 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A) are currently used to treat breast cancer, and it has been contemplated that 4-OH-A be given concurrently with tam to contravene potential tumor resistance to tam. Because alterations in tam metabolism may influence its therapeutic efficacy, the effect of 4-OH-A on tam metabolism was examined. Incubation of tam with liver microsomes from phenobarbital-treated rats, in the presence of 4-OH-A (10-100 microM), resulted in marked inhibition of tam-N-demethylation and tam covalent binding and in decreased tam-N-oxide accumulation; however, there was no inhibition of the formation of 4-hydroxy-tam and of 3,4-dihydroxytamoxifen. These findings indicate that 4-OH-A inhibits CYP3A, but not P-450(s) that catalyze tam 4-hydroxylation. The diminished tam-N-oxide accumulation could be due to decreased N-oxide formation and/or due to increased N-oxide reduction. Incubation of tam-N-oxide with liver microsomes containing heat-inactivated flavin-containing monooxygenase demonstrated that 4-OH-A increases the accumulation of tam, possibly by diminishing its P-450-mediated metabolism. Kinetic studies indicate that 4-OH-A is a competitive inhibitor of CYP3A, but not a time-dependent inactivator. Consequently, the concurrent treatment of tam and 4-OH-A may result in increased tam half-life and thus could potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of tam and diminish the potential side effects of tam by inhibiting its covalent binding to proteins and possibly to DNA.