Aromatase and gynecomastia

Endocr Relat Cancer. 1999 Jun;6(2):315-24. doi: 10.1677/erc.0.0060315.


An imbalance between estrogen action relative to androgen action at the breast tissue level results in gynecomastia. Enhancement of aromatization of androgens to estrogens is important in the pathogenesis of gynecomastia associated with obesity, aging, puberty, liver disease, thyrotoxicosis, 17-oxosteroid reductase deficiency. Klinefelter's syndrome, and neoplasms of the testes, adrenals and liver. A primary aromatase excess syndrome with exuberant gynecomastia had been found both sporadically and in a familial setting. Although aromatase inhibition would appear to be an important class of drugs to treat gynecomastia, relatively little published data with these drugs exist and most concern the use of delta1-testolactone, which reduces the size of the breast glandular tissue, but does not completely ameliorate the problem. Studies with the newer generation of more potent aromatase inhibitors need to be carried out.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aromatase / metabolism*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Gynecomastia / drug therapy
  • Gynecomastia / enzymology*
  • Gynecomastia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Aromatase