Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
N Engl J Med. 2003 Aug 7;349(6):535-45.

Hormone therapy and the progression of coronary-artery atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women.

Author information

  • 1Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA. watcher@usc.edu



In postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease, conjugated equine estrogen with or without continuous administration of medroxyprogesterone acetate has failed to slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Whether 17beta-estradiol (the endogenous estrogen molecule) alone or administered sequentially with medroxyprogesterone acetate can slow the progression of atherosclerosis is unknown.


We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 226 postmenopausal women (mean age, 63.5 years) who had at least one coronary-artery lesion. Participants were randomly assigned to usual care (control group), estrogen therapy with micronized 17beta-estradiol alone (estrogen group), or 17beta-estradiol plus sequentially administered medroxyprogesterone acetate (estrogen-progestin group). In all patients the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level was reduced to a target of less than 130 mg per deciliter. The primary outcome was the average per-participant change between base-line and follow-up coronary angiograms in the percent stenosis measured by quantitative coronary angiography.


After a median of 3.3 years of follow-up, the mean (+/-SE) change in the percent stenosis in the 169 participants who had a pair of matched angiograms was 1.89+/-0.78 percentage points in the control group, 2.18+/-0.76 in the estrogen group, and 1.24+/-0.80 in the estrogen-progestin group (P=0.66 for the comparison among the three groups). The mean difference in the percent stenosis between the estrogen group and the control group was 0.29 percentage point (95 percent confidence interval, -1.88 to 2.46), and the mean difference between the estrogen-progestin group and the control group was -0.65 (95 percent confidence interval, -2.87 to 1.57).


In older postmenopausal women with established coronary-artery atherosclerosis, 17beta-estradiol either alone or with sequentially administered medroxyprogesterone acetate had no significant effect on the progression of atherosclerosis.

Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk