Testosterone and breast cancer prevention

Maturitas. 2015 Nov;82(3):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


Testosterone (T) is the most abundant biologically active hormone in women. Androgen receptors (AR) are located throughout the body including the breast where T decreases tissue proliferation. However, T can be aromatized to estradiol (E2), which increases proliferation and hence, breast cancer (BCA) risk. Increased aromatase expression and an imbalance in the ratio of stimulatory estrogens to protective androgens impacts breast homeostasis. Recent clinical data supports a role for T in BCA prevention. Women with symptoms of hormone deficiency treated with pharmacological doses of T alone or in combination with anastrozole (A), delivered by subcutaneous implants, had a reduced incidence of BCA. In addition, T combined with A effectively treated symptoms of hormone deficiency in BCA survivors and was not associated with recurrent disease. Most notably, T+A implants placed in breast tissue surrounding malignant tumors significantly reduced BCA tumor size, further supporting T direct antiproliferative, protective and therapeutic effect.

Keywords: Anastrozole; Aromatase; Breast cancer; Prevention; Testosterone; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastrozole
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Androgens / therapeutic use*
  • Aromatase / metabolism
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Breast / drug effects
  • Breast / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Drug Implants
  • Estrogens / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nitriles / therapeutic use
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Triazoles / therapeutic use


  • Androgens
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Drug Implants
  • Estrogens
  • Nitriles
  • Triazoles
  • Anastrozole
  • Testosterone
  • Aromatase