Journal Article

The mutational signature of α-hydroxytamoxifen at <i>Hprt</i> locus in Chinese hamster cells

Masoud Yadollahi-Farsani, Donald S. Davies and Alan R. Boobis

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 23, issue 11, pages 1947-1952
Published in print November 2002 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online November 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
The mutational signature of α-hydroxytamoxifen at Hprt locus in Chinese hamster cells

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The anti-oestrogen tamoxifen is very effective in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. Tamoxifen is not a pure antagonist, but possesses weak oestrogenic activity that may contribute to a slightly increased risk of endometrial cancer. Whilst this can be incorporated into risk–benefit analysis for the use of the drug, residual concerns exist over the exact mechanism of formation of these tumours. Tamoxifen is a potent hepatocarcinogen in the rat, probably via a genotoxic mechanism. Whilst tamoxifen does not appear to cause liver tumours in humans, DNA adducts have been found in endometrial tissue of women receiving the drug. Hence, there is still a need to establish the mechanism of formation of these tumours. We have therefore determined the molecular nature of mutations induced in vitro by α-hydroxytamoxifen, the putative proximate genotoxic metabolite, in a mammalian cell line (V79-rHSTa) with stable expression of rat hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase a, which catalyses the further metabolism of α-hydroxytamoxifen to its ultimate genotoxic product. DNA sequence alterations were examined at the Hprt gene in 50 mutant clones. Simple base substitutions, mainly GC→TA transversions, predominated. However, single G:C base pair deletions and partial/complete exon skippings were also observed. All but one of the mutations involved guanine bases on the non-transcribed strand, probably indicating preferential repair of α-hydroxytamoxifen-induced guanine adducts from the transcribed strand. Nearest neighbour analysis of the mutations (on the non-transcribed strand) indicated that thymines (20/40) followed by guanines (13/40) were the most frequent 5′ neighbours, with adenines or guanines the most frequent 3′ neighbours. Many of the mutations occurred at TTGA/G sequences. Three mutational hot spots accounted for 11 GC→TA transversions and another site for two single G:C base pair deletions. A search for these characteristic mutations in tumour-related genes of treated rats and humans should help in understanding the mechanism(s) of tamoxifen-induced carcinogenicity.

Keywords: DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle medium; Hprt, hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase; rHSTa, hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase a.

Journal Article.  5189 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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