Controversies of aromatase localization in human breast cancer-Stromal versus parenchymal cells

Yasuhiro Miki, Takashi Suzuki, Hironobu Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Aromatase is a key enzyme of estrogen production through conversion from serum androgens in estrogen-dependent postmenopausal breast cancer. Aromatase has been reported to be predominantly located in intratumoral stromal cells and adipocytes but not in parenchymal or carcinoma cells in breast cancer tissue. It is, however, true that there have been controversies regarding intratumoral localization of aromatase in human breast carcinoma, especially whether intratumoral production of estrogens through aromatase occurs in parenchymal or stromal cells. Results of several studies suggested that aromatase present in parenchymal carcinoma cells plays more important roles in the growth and invasion of breast carcinomas than that in stromal cells through providing higher levels of estrogens to carcinoma cells. Aromatase inhibitors are increasingly being used in place of tamoxifen after results of various clinical trials demonstrated that aromatase inhibitors are more effective in increasing survival and recurrence of estrogen-dependent breast cancer patients. Therefore, it is important to clarify the estrogen supplying pathway by aromatase inside of breast carcinoma tissues in order to evaluate the possible efficacy of aromatase inhibitor treatment. In this review, the controversies regarding these intratumoral localization patterns in human breast carcinoma will be briefly summarized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug


  • Aromatase
  • Breast carcinoma
  • Estrogen
  • Localization


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