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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Tamoxifen stimulates arachidonic acid release from rat liver cells by an estrogen receptor-independent, non-genomic mechanism

Lawrence Levine

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, U.S.A

BMC Cancer 2003, 3:24  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-3-24

Published: 19 September 2003



Tamoxifen is widely prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer. Its success has been attributed to the modulation of the estrogen receptor. I have previously proposed that the release of arachidonic acid from cells may also mediate cancer prevention.


Rat liver cells were radiolabelled with arachidonic acid. The release of [3H] arachidonic acid after various times of incubation of the cells with tamoxifen was measured.


Tamoxifen, at micromolar concentrations, stimulates arachidonic acid release. The stimulation is rapid and is not affected by pre-incubation of the cells with actinomycin or the estrogen antagonist ICI-182,780.


The stimulation of AA release by tamoxifen is not mediated by estrogen receptor occupancy and is non-genomic.