The phenolic active metabolites, cis-4-hydroxytamoxifen (cis-HO-TAM) and trans-4-hydroxytamoxifen (trans-HO-TAM), of the anti-breast-cancer drug, trans-tamoxifen (TAM), were geometrically selectively glucuronidated in the manner of cis>>trans by microsomes and sulfated in the manner of trans>>cis by cytosol from the liver of 10 human subjects (7 females and 3 males). There was a large individual difference in the microsomal glucuronidation of cis-HO-TAM, which correlated well with glucuronidation of 4-hydroxybiphenyl by human liver microsomes. However, there was only a slight correlation between the glucuronidation of cis-HO-TAM and trans-HO-TAM or 4-nitrophenol (NP). A small individual difference was observed for the human liver cytosolic sulfation of trans-HO-TAM, which correlated well with the sulfation of NP. Recombinant human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)2B15 catalyzed the cis-selective glucuronidation of geometrical isomers of HO-TAM. UGTs1A1, 1A4, 1A9 and 2B7 had weak activity toward HO-TAMs with a much smaller cis-selectivity than did UGT2B15. UGTs1A3 and 1A6 had no detectable activity toward these substrates. Among the four known major sulfotransferases (SULTs) occurring in the human liver, SULT1A1 was strongly suggested to play the most important role in the hepatic cytosolic trans-selective sulfation of HO-TAM isomers. A good correlation was observed between the hepatic cytosolic sulfation of trans-HO-TAM and NP, a standard substrate for SULT1A1. SULT1E1 had slight activity toward the HO-TAMs. SULTs1A3 and 2A1 had no detectable activity toward HO-TAMs.