Review: Aromatase in human breast carcinoma as a key regulator of intratumoral sex steroid concentrations

Takashi Suzuki, Yasuhiro Miki, Jun Ichi Akahira, Takuya Moriya, Noriaki Ohuchi, Hironobu Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


It is well-known that estrogens are closely involved in the growth of human breast carcinomas, and that the great majority of breast carcinoma express estrogen receptors. Recent studies have demonstrated that estrogens are locally produced and act on the breast carcinoma tissue. Among these pathways, aromatase is a key enzyme for intratumoral production of estrogens in breast carcinomas, and aromatase inhibitors are currently used in the breast carcinoma in postmenopausal women as an estrogen deprivation therapy. This review summarizes the results of recent studies on the expression and regulation of aromatase in breast carcinoma tissues, and discusses the potential biological and/or clinical significance of aromatase. Aromatase is abundantly expressed in various cell types, such as carcinoma cells, intratumoral stromal cells, and adipocytes adjacent to the carcinoma, in breast carcinoma tissues. Further, a key regulator for aromatase expression differed according to cell type. In addition, aromatase suppressed in situ production of bioactive androgen, 5a-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), in breast carcinoma. Aromatase inhibitors may thus have additional antiproliferative effects through increasing local DHT concentration with estrogen deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-463
Number of pages9
Journalendocrine journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Androgen
  • Aromatase
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Estrogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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