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Steroids. 2003 Nov;68(10-13):1053-9.

Effects of onapristone on postmenopausal endometrium.

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Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Centre for Reproductive Biology, University of Edinburgh, New Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SU, UK.


The progesterone antagonist mifepristone (RU486, Exelgyn) has been shown to exert a paradoxical agonist effect on postmenopausal endometrium. We conducted a study to investigate the effects of the 'pure' antiprogestin onapristone (ZK 98 299, Schering AG) on postmenopausal endometrium. Seventeen postmenopausal subjects (45-62 years), took 2 mg of oestradiol and either placebo, 1 mg onapristone or 10 mg of onapristone, daily for 56 days. An endometrial biopsy was performed during the final week of treatment and assessed for histology and immunohistochemistry for oestrogen receptors (ER), progesterone (PR), androgen receptors (AR) and the cell proliferation marker Ki 67. FSH fell in all 14 subjects who completed the study, consistent with the effect of oestradiol treatment. There was a dose-dependent additive effect of onapristone on suppression of gonadotrophins. All endometrial biopsies showed proliferative endometrium. A similar pattern and intensity of immunostaining of ER, PR and Ki 67 was observed in all groups, with positive immunoreactivity in both glands and stroma. AR immunostaining was observed in both glands and stroma from all subjects, but there was an increase in intensity of immunostaining within the glandular epithelium of women receiving 10 mg onapristone. The antiprogestin onapristone, in contrast to mifepristone, is not agonistic on postmenopausal endometrium and does not exert obvious antiproliferative effects. It does however cause a dose dependent suppression of FSH and LH release.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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