Institute of Internal Medicine, The Wallenberg Laboratory for Cardiovascular Research, Bruna Stråket 16, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTEXT: Estrogen treatment of men with prostate cancer is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; however, the role of endogenous estrogen levels for atherosclerotic disease in men is unknown. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to determine whether endogenous serum estradiol (E2) levels predict the progression of carotid artery intima-media thickness in men. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: This was a population-based, prospective cohort study (the Atherosclerosis and Insulin Resistance study) conducted in Göteborg, Sweden, among 313 Caucasian men without cardiovascular or other clinically overt diseases. Carotid artery intima-media thickness, an index of preclinical atherosclerosis, was measured by ultrasound at baseline (58 yr of age) and after 3 yr of follow-up. Serum sex hormone levels and cardiovascular risk factors (body mass index, waist to hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, serum triglycerides, plasma c-peptide, and smoking status) were assessed at study entry. INTERVENTION: There was no intervention. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Association between baseline total and free E2 levels and progression of carotid intima-media thickness over 3 yr with adjustments for cardiovascular risk factors was measured. RESULTS: In univariate analyses, both total and free E2 levels at baseline were positively associated with the annual change in intima-media thickness. In linear regression models including E2 and cardiovascular risk factors, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and E2 were identified as independent predictors of progression of carotid artery intima-media thickness (total E2 beta = 0.187, P = 0.001; and free E2 beta = 0.183, P = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: Circulating E2 is a predictor of progression of carotid artery intima-media thickness in middle-aged men. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of endogenous E2 for incident cardiovascular disease events.