Androgen insensitivity syndrome

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2018 Jun;22(12):3873-3887. doi: 10.26355/eurrev_201806_15272.


Objective: We provide a review of the literature about the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), its onset and associated developmental anomalies and the genetic alterations causing it.

Materials and methods: We searched PubMed with a larger emphasis on the physiology, genetics and current management of AIS.

Results: AIS is an X-linked recessive Disorder of Sex Development (DSD). It is caused by mutations of the Androgen Receptor, and their large amount and heterogeneity (missense and nonsense mutations, splicing variants, deletions, and insertions) are responsible for the wide spectrum of possible phenotypes of patients, divided into Partial AIS (PAIS) and Complete AIS (CAIS). Once the clinical and laboratory investigations have laid the foundation for a diagnostic hypothesis, it is important to identify the actual karyotype of the individual and search for the mutation in the Androgen Receptor to diagnose with certainty the syndrome. Alternatively, in the absence of such evidence, the diagnosis should more properly be an AIS-like condition, which we describe as well in our report.

Conclusions: The management of this DSD is based on pharmacotherapies, surgery and psychological support: all of them must be directed to facilitate the patient's life, considering his/her sexual identity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / genetics*
  • Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics*


  • AR protein, human
  • Receptors, Androgen