Treatment of pubertal gynecomastia with the specific aromatase inhibitor anastrozole

Horm Res. 2004;62(3):113-8. doi: 10.1159/000079882. Epub 2004 Jul 20.


Gynecomastia can be detected in up to 70% of boys during puberty and in about one third of adult males. An imbalance of estrogen to androgen tissue levels is believed to be the major reason for the development of gynecomastia; as a result most medical treatments so far have tried to lower the estrogen level. Five boys with pubertal gynecomastia and breast tenderness were treated for 6 months with the selective aromatase inhibitor anastrozole. Initial plasma levels of estradiol (E2), testosterone (T), androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and gonadotropins were normal. DHEA-S showed a significant rise during treatment. T and androstenedione showed no significant change during treatment. E2 decreased with therapy, although to no statistically significant extent. The E2/T ratio decreased significantly during the treatment. Breast size decreased in 4 out of 5 patients, and in 1 of these 4 boys glandular breast tissue disappeared completely. The longer the duration of gynecomastia before anastrozole administration, the smaller was the reduction of breast size. Breast tenderness was resolved in all boys within 4 weeks. No adverse effects were recorded. Since the aim of medical treatment is the total disappearance of breast tissue, anastrozole, as previous aromatase inhibitors, is of limited effect. However, anastrozole seems to be of benefit for the treatment of tenderness in gynecomastia and for patients in whom surgery is particularly risky. However, as spontaneous disappearance of pubertal gynecomastia is common, further double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials are necessary before a definite conclusion can be drawn about the effectiveness and the side effects of this therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anastrozole
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Estrogens / blood
  • Gynecomastia / blood
  • Gynecomastia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitriles / administration & dosage*
  • Nitriles / adverse effects
  • Pilot Projects
  • Puberty
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Triazoles / adverse effects


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Estrogens
  • Nitriles
  • Triazoles
  • Anastrozole
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate