Kaštelan, Darko and Giljević, Zlatko and Kraljević, Ivana and Koršić, Mirko
Selective estrogen receptor modulators: A possible new treatment of osteoporosis in males.
Medical Hypotheses, 67 (5).
More recently, osteoporosis in men has been recognized as an important public health problem. Bone loss begins in mid life and is associated with the decline of the sex steroids production. Although there is no equivalent of the menopause, gonadal function in men is affected in a slow progressive way leading to hypogonadism. Testosterone, the major androgen in men, exerts its effect on bone by local conversion to 5α-dihydrotestosterone or by aromatization to estrogens. Several studies have found that estrogen, rather than testosterone, levels are more closely correlated with BMD in elderly men. Selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) raloxifene binds to estrogen receptors and exhibit estrogenic effect in bone, but, contrary to estrogen, without feminizing effect. There are limited numbers of studies investigating the effects of SERMs in males. Animal studies demonstrated that SERMs inhibit bone turnover and prevent bone loss in orchidectomised adult male rats. Raloxifene has been shown to increase bone mineral density of the hip in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. Moreover, experimental data demonstrated dramatic increase in cell death in human prostate cancer cell lines after the treatment with raloxifene. All these observations suggest that SERMs may be useful for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis not only in postmenopausal women but also in elderly men. However, our hypothesis should be tested in a proper designed clinical trial. Several important issues have to be addressed. Does the same drug dose that has been shown to be effective in postmenopausal women should be used in men, too? Does treatment with SERMs reduce the fracture risk in men and is it comparable to that observed in women? Does treatment with SERMs have any beneficial effect on cardiovascular system and prostate cancer? And finally, do men experience adverse events other than women treated with SERMs? Answering to these questions will have great impact in getting the decision of possible SERMs usage in the treatment of osteoporosis in elderly males.
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