In situ production of estrogens in human breast carcinoma

Breast Cancer. 2002;9(4):296-302. doi: 10.1007/BF02967607.


Recent studies have demonstrated that biologically active estrogens are locally produced from circulating inactive steroids in the estrogen-dependent breast carcinoma. The in situ production of estrogens in the breast carcinoma is considered to play an important role in the proliferation of breast cancer cells, especially in the postmenopausal women. Therefore, the total blockade of this pathway may inhibit estrogenic actions in breast cancer tissues and lead to an improvement in the prognosis in these patients. In this review, we describe the recent studies concerning the expression of enzymes related to intratumoral estrogen production, including aromatase, 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, steroid sulfatase, and estrogen sulfotransferase in human breast carcinoma tissues, and discuss the biological significance of local production of estrogens in human breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Aromatase / metabolism
  • Arylsulfatases / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma in Situ / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Estrogens / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms, Hormone-Dependent / pathology
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Steryl-Sulfatase
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • 3 (or 17)-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
  • Aromatase
  • Sulfotransferases
  • estrone sulfotransferase
  • Arylsulfatases
  • Steryl-Sulfatase