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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Dec;949:168-74.

Selective estrogen receptor modulator effects on serum lipoproteins and vascular function in postmenopausal women and in hypercholesterolemic men.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Poriya Hospital, Lower Galilee, Israel.


Epidemiological observations, clinical mechanistic studies, and basic laboratory research suggest that estrogen therapy is associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects in postmenopausal women. Estrogen has a multitude of biological effects that may account for this apparent benefit (which remains to be proved in randomized clinical trials), including favorable effects on the lipid profile, increased endothelial nitric oxide bioactivity, and enhanced fibrinolysis. However, long-term estrogen therapy increases the risk of breast and endometrial cancers. Raloxifene, a benzothiophene derivative that binds to the estrogen receptor, is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, producing estrogen-agonist effects in some tissues (liver, bone) and estrogen-antagonistic effects in others (breast, uterus), and may prove to be an option for women with atherosclerosis or its risk factors. This review updates the current knowledge of the biological effects of selective estrogen receptor modulators of potential cardiovascular importance in postmenopausal women.

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