Tamoxifen and somatostatin affect tumours by inducing apoptosis

Eleonora Candi, Gerry Melino, Vincenzo De Laurenzi, Mauro Piacentini, Piero Guerrieri, Angelo Spinedi, Richard A. Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tamoxifen is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent in human breast cancer, although some tumours develop resistance. Somatostatin is also being introduced as an anti-tumour agent. Here we show that the action of these drugs is, at least partly, due to their induction of apoptosis. Both 50 nM somatostatin, and 60 nM tamoxifen significantly enhanced the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis, when compared to untreated or oestrogen treated control cells. This effect was observed in SK-N-BE(2) human neuroblastoma cells and in MCF-7G human breast cancer cells but not in their drug-resistant counterpart MCF-7A which showed a very low rate of spontaneous programmed cell death. Finally, we propose a simple test of the sensitivity and resistance of individual tumours to these agents by assessing their ability to induce apoptosis in vitro as measured by flow cytometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 4 1995


  • Apoptosis
  • Breast Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Somatostatin
  • Tamoxifen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Molecular Biology


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