Pharmacogenetics and oncology treatment for breast cancer

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2007 Feb;8(2):119-27. doi: 10.1517/14656566.8.2.119.


Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in women in the US and the UK, accounting for 15-17% of all female cancer deaths. Current treatment strategies include hormone therapy, such as anti-estrogens (tamoxifen) and aromatase inhibitors (exemastane, anastrozole, letrozole), as well as cytotoxics, such as the taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel). With multiple therapy choices, a method to prospectively screen patients prior to therapy selection is now needed. Pharmacogenetics seeks to develop screening mechanisms to optimise drug therapy. DNA variations in metabolism, transport and drug target genes may contribute to chemotherapy efficacy and toxicities. The status of the identification of genetic markers for breast cancer therapy selection is highlighted in this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aromatase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Transport
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Docetaxel
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genes, bcl-1
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Humans
  • Paclitaxel / metabolism
  • Paclitaxel / therapeutic use*
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Tamoxifen / metabolism
  • Tamoxifen / therapeutic use*
  • Taxoids / metabolism
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Taxoids
  • Tamoxifen
  • Docetaxel
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 2B15, human
  • Paclitaxel