Characterization of the isomeric configuration and impurities of (Z)-endoxifen by 2D NMR, high resolution LC–MS, and quantitative HPLC analysis
(Z)-Endoxifen (4-hydroxy-N-desmethyltamoxifen), an active metabolite generated via actions of CYP3A4/5 and CYP2D6, is a more potent selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) than tamoxifen. In the MCF-7 human mammary tumor xenograft model with female athymic mice, (Z)-endoxifen, at an oral dose of 4–8 mg/kg, significantly inhibits tumor growth. (Z)-Endoxifen's potential as an alternative therapeutic agent independent of CYP2D6 activities, which can vary widely in ER+ breast cancer patients, is being actively evaluated. This paper describes confirmation of the configuration of the active (Z)-isomer through 2D NMR experiments, including NOE (ROESY) to establish spatial proton–proton correlations, and identification of the major impurity as the (E)-isomer in endoxifen drug substance by HPLC/HRMS (HPLC/MS-TOF). Stability of NMR solutions was confirmed by HPLC/UV analysis. For pre-clinical studies, a reverse-phase HPLC–UV method, with methanol/water mobile phases containing 10 mM ammonium formate at pH 4.3, was developed and validated for the accurate quantitation and impurity profiling of drug substance and drug product. Validation included demonstration of linearity, method precision, accuracy, and specificity in the presence of impurities, excipients (for the drug product), and degradation products. Ruggedness and reproducibility of the method were confirmed by collaborative studies between two independent laboratories. The method is being applied for quality control of the API and oral drug product. Kinetic parameters of Z- to E-isomerization were also delineated in drug substance and in aqueous formulation, showing conversion at temperatures above 25 °C.