Potential role of UGT pharmacogenetics in cancer treatment and prevention: Focus on tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors

Philip Lazarus, Dongxiao Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Tamoxifen (TAM) is a selective estrogen-receptor modulator that is widely used in the prevention and treatment of estrogen-receptorpositive breast cancer. Its use has significantly contributed to a decline in breast cancer mortality, since breast cancer patients treated with TAM for 5 years exhibit a 3050% reduction in both the rate of disease recurrence after 10 years of patient follow-up and in the occurrence of contralateral breast cancer. However, in patients treated with TAM, there is substantial interindividual variability in the development of resistance to TAM therapy and in the incidence of TAM-induced adverse events, including deep-vein thrombosis, hot flashes, and the development of endometrial cancer. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have emerged as a viable alternative to TAM, working by inhibiting aromatase activity and blocking estrone/estrodiol biosynthesis in postmenopausal women. The current third-generation AIs, anastrozole, exemestane, and letrozole, were used initially for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, demonstrating similar or greater benefit but less toxicity, compared with TAM, and are now being employed as adjuvant treatment for early breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This article will focus on the UDP-glucuronosyltransferases, a family of metabolizing enzymes that play an important role in the deactivation and clearance of TAM, anastrazole, and exemestane, and how interindividual differences in these enzymes may play a role in patient response to these agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-194
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Metabolism Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Potential role of UGT pharmacogenetics in cancer treatment and prevention: Focus on tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this