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Efforts to interfere with the initiation and promotion of breast and other cancers by endocrine manipulation are not new. It is of obvious benefit to cancer patients to administer substances that combine minimal general toxicity with maximal oestrogen inhibition. Raloxifene is a relatively recent addition to a group of compounds loosely designated as antioestrogens, which implies their ability to antagonize oestrogen effects via competitive binding to the various receptors. This is a reductionist simplification, since their effect varies and ranges from interaction with lipid transduction cascades, covalent binding to proteins and DNA, regulation of growth factors, erbB2, mdr1 and probably p53 expression, complexing with E-cadherin / catenin to active induction of apoptosis and many other effects on the genome. Also, the action of most antioestrogens is not solely antagonistic and different compounds do exert some agonistic effects in various tissues. Apart from some “pure” antioestrogens, the benzothiophene derivative Raloxifene has been found to combine a high degree of selective oestrogen suppression with several other desirable characteristics, such as reduction of bone demineralisation and antiatherogenic effects without endometrial stimulation. It is well tolerated, has been successfully tested as a chemopreventive agent for breast cancer in certain groups of the population and does not prevent ovulation in women with normal menstrual cycles. Certainly, Raloxifene is only another forerunner of upcoming “designer” oestrogen modulators, but it represents a welcome addition to the therapeutic choices available for the control of some menopausal problems as well as for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer, as outlined in the following brief review.

Keywords: Raloxifene; benzothiophene derivative; low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.

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