Aromatase, breast cancer and obesity: A complex interaction

Serdar E. Bulun*, Dong Chen, Irene Moy, David C. Brooks, Hong Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Obesity has been associated with abnormally high expression of the enzyme aromatase in the breast, increased local estrogen production, and predisposition to breast hyperplasia and cancer. Increased adiposity in postmenopausal women may trigger signaling pathways that induce aromatase expression. In breast adipose fibroblasts, increased TNF production may induce the distal aromatase promoter, whereas increased local PGE 2 production may induce the proximal promoter region. We review here the mechanisms that control aromatase gene expression in breast adipose tissue, and the paracrine interactions between malignant breast epithelial cells and the surrounding adipose fibroblasts. Systematic characterization of these signaling pathways will facilitate the identification of potential drug targets to selectively reduce aromatase expression and excessive estrogen production, with therapeutic benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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