Disruption of aromatase homeostasis as the cause of a multiplicity of ailments: A comprehensive review

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2017 Apr;168:19-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2017.01.009. Epub 2017 Jan 18.


Human health is beset with a legion of ailments, which is exacerbated by lifestyle errors. Out of the numerous enzymes in human body, aromatase, a cytochrome P450 enzyme is particularly very critical. Occurring at the crossroads of multiple signalling pathways, its homeostasis is vital for optimal health. Unfortunately, medications, hormone therapy, chemical additives in food, and endocrine-disrupting personal care products are oscillating the aromatase concentration beyond the permissible level. As this enzyme converts androgens (C19) into estrogens (C18), its agitation has different outcomes in different genders and age groups. Some common pathologies associated with aromatase disruption include breast cancer, prostate cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, pituitary cancer, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, male hypogonadism, and transgender issues. Several drugs, cosmetics and pesticides act as the activators and suppressors of this enzyme. This carefully-compiled critical review is expected to increase public awareness regarding the threats resultant of the perturbations of this enzyme and to motivate researchers for further investigation of this field.

Keywords: Aromatase; Aromatase inhibitor; Breast cancer; Endocrine disruption; Estrogen; Inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / chemistry
  • Aromatase / drug effects*
  • Aromatase / genetics
  • Aromatase / physiology*
  • Aromatase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood
  • Endocrine System
  • Endometriosis / blood
  • Estrogens / chemistry
  • Female
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood
  • Pesticides / chemistry
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transgender Persons


  • Androgens
  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Estrogens
  • Pesticides
  • Aromatase
  • CYP19A1 protein, human