How to manage the menopause following therapy for breast cancer. Is raloxifene a safe alternative?

P. Sismondi, N. Biglia, R. Roagna, R. Ponzone, S. Ambroggio, L. Sgro, M. Cozzarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Raloxifene is a selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that has anti-oestrogenic effects on breast and endometrial tissue and oestrogenic actions on bone, lipid metabolism and blood clotting. In postmenopausal women raloxifene decreases bone turnover and increases bone mineral density, reducing the incidence of vertebral fractures. Unlike tamoxifen, raloxifene does not cause endometrial hyperplasia or cancer, as demonstrated by endometrial monitoring with ultrasonography and biopsy during treatment. Evidence suggests that raloxifene lowers total low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels behaving like oestrogens, but does not increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In randomised clinical trials on postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, raloxifene reduced the risk of newly diagnosed ER-positive invasive breast cancer by 76% during a median of 40 months of treatment. However, raloxifene does not alleviate early menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and urogenital atrophy, and may even exacerbate some of them. In conclusion, raloxifene may be an alternative for the prevention of long-term effects of oestrogen deficiency (osteoporosis and heart diseases) in women with previous breast cancer not having hot flushes. For symptomatic patients, the association of raloxifene with different drugs which have demonstrated efficacy in the control of vasomotor symptoms is now under evaluation. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Menopause
  • Raloxifene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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