Familial hyperestrogenism in both sexes: clinical, hormonal, and molecular studies of two siblings

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;88(7):3027-34. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-021780.


Familial hyperestrogenism is a rare clinical condition of unknown etiology in which patients present excessive androgen to estrogen conversion. Excessive aromatization is primarily ascribed to abnormalities in the CYP19. Mice that lack steroid 5alpha-reductase type 1 also exhibit hyperestrogenism due to an increased availability of androgen precursors. Here we studied two adult siblings, born to unrelated parents, who presented clinical and hormonal evidence of estrogen excess. The man was treated with topical dihydrotestosterone, which promoted adequate virilization. The woman was treated with anastrazole, a potent aromatase inhibitor, with normalization of menstrual cycles. Genetic linkage to the steroid 5alpha-reductase type 1 gene (SRD5A1) was ruled out in this family. A similar analysis did not rule out linkage to CYP19, although no mutation was identified in the coding region of this gene. Aromatase mRNA was at least 10-fold more abundant in the female patient's skin fibroblasts vs. the control. Southern analysis of genomic DNA did not reveal rearrangements or amplification of the coding region of CYP19. We conclude that the phenotype of familial hyperestrogenism includes prepubertal gynecomastia, hypogonadism, and short stature in men, and precocious thelarche, macromastia, enlarged uterus, and menstrual irregularities in women. Topical dihydrotestosterone is an efficient alternative treatment in men with hyperestrogenism; in addition, second generation aromatase inhibitors are useful in both sexes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aromatase / genetics*
  • Cholestenone 5 alpha-Reductase
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Estrogens / blood*
  • Female
  • Feminization / enzymology
  • Feminization / genetics*
  • Feminization / therapy
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Pedigree
  • Puberty, Precocious / enzymology
  • Puberty, Precocious / genetics*
  • Puberty, Precocious / therapy
  • Siblings
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Estrogens
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Aromatase
  • Cholestenone 5 alpha-Reductase