Treatment of Short Stature with Aromatase Inhibitors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Horm Metab Res. 2021 Jun;53(6):391-401. doi: 10.1055/a-1492-2841. Epub 2021 Jun 21.


The objective of the study is to determine the risks and benefits of treating idiopathic short stature (ISS) with aromatase inhibitors (AIs). We comprehensively searched PubMed, Embase, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure between establishment year and January 31, 2020. Mean difference (MD)/Standardized mean differences (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) of individual studies were pooled using fixed or random effects models. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were also performed. Publication bias was estimated using funnel plots and Egger tests. Fourteen studies including 388 participants were included. The meta-analysis results showed that AIs significantly increased final height (MD=2.46, 95% CI: 0.8-4.12) and predicted adult height (MD=0.34, 95% CI: 0.11-0.57). Changes in bone age (MD=-0.1, 95% CI: -0.86-0.66) and bone mineral density (MD=-0.05, 95% CI: -0.19-0.1) were not different between intervention and control group. AI significantly increased testosterone level (SMD=2.01, 95% CI: 0.8-3.23) and reduced estradiol level (SMD=-1.13, 95% CI: -1.87 to -0.40); The intervention and control group had no significant differences in the levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (SMD=-0.31, 95%CI: -0.68-0.06) and IGF-1 (SMD=0.7, 95% CI: -0.66-2.06) levels. Adverse events were more frequent in the intervention group than in the control group (odds ratio=3.12, 95% CI: 1.44-6.73). In conclusion, both AI monotherapy and AI combination therapy can increase predicted adult height and testosterone levels.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aromatase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Growth Disorders / blood
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Growth Disorders / pathology
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Aromatase Inhibitors
  • Testosterone