Serum levels of lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins were measured in 26 premenopausal women with endometriosis both before and after six months therapy with the anabolic steroid danazol (600 mg/day) and in 15 untreated women who acted as controls. No changes were seen in the control group over six months. In women treated with danazol, mean levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol increased by 36% while those of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol decreased by 46%, changes characteristic of androgenic steroids. In contrast to this potentially detrimental lipoprotein profile, lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] levels were reduced by 78.6% +/- 24.0% (mean +/- S.D.) in women taking danazol. These dramatic changes in Lp(a) levels correlated with baseline Lp(a) levels but not with changes in LDL or HDL. Anabolic steroids such as danazol appear to be powerful modulators of serum Lp(a) concentrations. This could be due to direct effects on Lp(a) metabolism, or secondary to the effects of these steroids on insulin metabolism or on the coagulation and fibrinolysis system.