Effects of tetramethoxystilbene on hormone-resistant breast cancer cells: Biological and biochemical mechanisms of action

Hoyong Park, Sarah E. Aiyar, Ping Fan, Jiping Wang, Wei Yue, Tatiana Okouneva, Corey Cox, Mary Ann Jordan, Laurence Demers, Hyungjun Cho, Sanghee Kim, Robert X.D. Song, Richard J. Santen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Secondary resistance to hormonal therapy for breast cancer commonly develops after an initial response to tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. Agents to abrogate these adaptive changes would substantially enhance the long-term benefits of hormonal therapy. Our studies with a stilbene derivative called TMS (2,3′,4,5′-tetramethoxystilbene) identified unexpected effects with potential utility for treatment of breast tumors secondarily resistant to hormonal therapy. TMS was originally developed as an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 1B1 to block the conversion of estradiol to 4-OH-estradiol. While studying this agent in three models of hormone resistance, we detected direct antitumor effects not related to its role as an inhibitor of catecholestrogens. During examination of the mechanisms involved, we showed that treatment with 3 μmol/L TMS for 24 h inhibited tubulin polymerization and microtubule formation, caused a cell cycle block at the G2-M phase,and induced apoptosis. TMS also inhibited activated focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Akt, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and stimulated c-jun-NH2-kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activity. With respect to antitumor effects, TMS at a concentrations of 0.2 to 0.3 μmol/L inhibited the growth of long-term tamoxifen-treated MCF-7 cells by 80% and fulvestrant-treated MCF-7 cells by 70%. In vivo studies, involving 8 weeks of treatment with TMS via a 30-mg s.c. implant, reduced tumor volume of tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 breast cancer xenografts by 53%. Our data suggest that TMS is a promising therapeutic agent because of its unique ability to block several pathways involved in the development of hormone resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5717-5726
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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