Efficacy of emu oil transfersomes for local transdermal delivery of 4-oh tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer

Usha Sundralingam, Srikumar Chakravarthi, Ammu Kutty Radhakrishnan, Saravanan Muniyandy, Uma D. Palanisamy

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Oral tamoxifen used in the prevention and treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) (estrogen-positive) patients has limited acceptance, due to its adverse side effects. The efficacy of tamoxifen is related to its major metabolite, 4-hydroxytamoxifen. Local transdermal therapy of 4-hydroxytamoxifen to the breast might avert the toxicity of oral tamoxifen, while maintaining efficacy. We aim to study the skin irritancy, as well as to evaluate the efficacy of the developed transfersome formulations, with/without emu oil, using a syngeneic mouse model of breast cancer. We also quantified tamoxifen/4-hydroxytamoxifen concentrations in blood plasma and performed histopathology. The skin irritancy test showed that the pure emu oil and transfersome formulations with or without the emu oil did not cause skin irritancy in the animals studied. A sensitive and specific LC–MS/MS method for the quantification of tamoxifen and 4-hydroxytamoxifen was developed and validated. Studies on tumor volume and necrosis (histopathology) using the breast cancer mouse model showed that the 4-OHT transfersomal formulations, with and without emu oil, showed comparable efficacy with that of orally administered tamoxifen. However, the transfersomal formulations, with and without emu oil, resulted in significantly lower (10.24 ± 0.07 and 32.45 ± 0.48 ng/mL, respectively) plasma concentrations of 4-hydroxytamoxifen, compared to the oral tamoxifen (TAMX) group (634.42 ± 7.54 ng/mL). This study demonstrated the potential use of emu oil in a local transdermal formulation for the treatment of breast cancer and its reduced adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number807
Number of pages18
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • 4-hydroxytamoxifen
  • DCIS
  • Emu oil
  • Local transdermal therapy
  • Tamoxifen

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