Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Program

Pharmacology

Research Advisor

Dale P. Suttle, Ph.D., B.S.

Committee

Leonard Lothstein, Ph.D., M.S., B.A. Trevor W. Sweatman, Ph.D., B.Sc.

Abstract

The role of estrogen in breast cancer has been recognized for decades. The selective estrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen was the first targeted therapy for the treatment of breast cancer. It was also the first drug approved by the FDA for the reduction of breast cancer risk. While tamoxifen has extended the lives of countless patients with breast cancer, resistance to tamoxifen remains a significant clinical problem. Work over the last two decades has greatly enhanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which breast cancer cells may become resistant to tamoxifen treatment. Here I review our current understanding of the tamoxifen’s mechanism of altering estrogen signaling along with the current experimental and clinical work investigating the mechanisms by which breast cancer cells develop resistance. Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying tamoxifen resistance will allow improvement of treatment by potentially enhancing the effects of tamoxifen while reducing the incidence of resistance.

DOI

10.21007/etd.cghs.2010.0004

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