Aromatization of androgens by human breast cancer

Y. J. Abul-Hajj, R. Iverson, D. T. Kiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The metabolism of dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone by human mammary tumor was investigated. Estrogen synthes is from dehydroepiandrosterone was observed in 9 of 10 estrogen-receptor-negative tumors and only in 2 of 8 receptor-positive tumors (p < 0.025). Conversion of testosterone to estrogens was observed in 7 of 8 receptornegative and 2 of 7 receptor-positive tumors. Tumors which are capable of transforming dehydroepiandrosterone to estrogens were also able to aromatize testosterone suggesting that the presence of the aromatase enzyme is inherent to certain tumor cells. No estrogen formation was detected by the mitochondrial-microsomal fraction of normal breast cells while fractions from both fat cell and tumor cell showed estrogen synthesis. Estrogen formation by tumor cell fraction ranged from 5 to 190 times that observed for fat cells. The physiological significance of these results In the neoplastic tissue and its relationship to hormone dependence are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-222
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1979

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This investigation was supported in part by Public Health Service Grant CA 20530 from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health.


Dive into the research topics of 'Aromatization of androgens by human breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this