Research NewsEndocrinology

Drug's Link to Genes Reveals Estrogen's Many Sides

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Science  30 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5279, pp. 1171
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5279.1171


The hormone estrogen is both a villain and a savior, thought to contribute to the development of breast and uterine cancers but also to protect women against heart attacks and osteoporosis. Now a study of an estrogenlike drug, reported on page 1222 , may help explain the hormone's contradictory personality and open the way to designing drugs that block only its unwanted effects—or mimic only its beneficial ones. The drug, called raloxifene, sends its signals to the genes by different pathways depending on the tissue it is acting on. The natural hormone may owe its many guises to a similar variety of pathways.