Aromatase expression and its localization in human breast cancer

Hironobu Sasano, Masahiko Ozaki

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Aromatization or in situ estrogen production by aromatase has been considered to play an important role in the development of human breast carcinoma. In the human breast, aromatase overexpression is observed in the stromal or interstitial cells of the carcinoma, especially at the sites of frank invasion and/or adipose tissue. Transplantation experiments in the nude mouse employing MCF-7 and/or SF-TY human fibroblast cell lines revealed that aromatase activity and expression were much higher in the tumour with MCF-7 and SF-TY than that with MCF-7 alone. Aromatase overexpression in human breast carcinoma tissue is considered to occur as a result of carcinoma-stromal cell interactions, i.e. paracrine communication between stromal and carcinoma cells. Aromatase overexpression is correlated with the malignant phenotype in the human breast, but not with stage, age, clinical stages, clinical course, or proliferative activity of breast carcinoma. Aromatase overexpression may be correlated with development, rather than the biological behaviour of breast malignancy. Aromatase overexpression is not necessarily correlated with expression of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, which converts estrone to estradiol and estrogen receptor. Different mechanisms may be involved in the regulation of expression of these two important estrogen-metabolizing enzymes and estrogen receptor in human breast cancer. Aromatase overexpression in intratumoral stromal cells was much more frequently detected in male breast cancer than in female counterparts, which confers a growth advantage on cancer cells in a male hormonal environment with low serum estrogen levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3-6
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Apr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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