PURPOSE: Polymorphisms in tamoxifen metabolizing genes affect the plasma concentration of tamoxifen metabolites, but their effect on clinical outcome is unknown. METHODS: We determined cytochrome P450 (CYP)2D6 (*4 and *6) and CYP3A5 (*3) genotype from paraffin-embedded tumor samples and buccal cells (living patients) in tamoxifen-treated women enrolled onto a North Central Cancer Treatment Group adjuvant breast cancer trial. The relationship between genotype and disease outcome was determined using the log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards modeling. RESULTS: Paraffin blocks were obtained from 223 of 256 eligible patients, and buccal cells were obtained from 17 living women. CYP2D6 (*4 and *6) and CYP3A5 (*3) genotypes were determined from 190, 194, and 205 patient samples and in 17 living women. The concordance rate between buccal and tumor genotype was 100%. Women with the CYP2D6 *4/*4 genotype had worse relapse-free time (RF-time; P = .023) and disease-free survival (DFS; P = .012), but not overall survival (P = .169) and did not experience moderate to severe hot flashes relative to women heterozygous or homozygous for the wild-type allele. In the multivariate analysis, women with the CYP2D6 *4/*4 genotype still tended to have worse RFS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.85; P = .176) and DFS (HR, 1.86; P = .089). The CYP3A5*3 variant was not associated with any of these clinical outcomes. CONCLUSION: In tamoxifen-treated patients, women with the CYP2D6 *4/*4 genotype tend to have a higher risk of disease relapse and a lower incidence of hot flashes, which is consistent with our previous observation that CYP2D6 is responsible for the metabolic activation of tamoxifen to endoxifen.
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