Control of aromatase activity in breast cancer cells: the role of cytokines and growth factors

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1993 Mar;44(4-6):589-96. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(93)90264-w.


The aromatase complex has a key role in regulating oestrogen formation in normal and malignant breast tissues. Using dexamethasone-treated fibroblasts, derived from breast tumours, breast tumour cytosol and breast tumour-derived conditioned medium (CM) markedly stimulate aromatase activity. The cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been identified as a factor present in CM which is capable of stimulating aromatase activity. To examine whether IL-6 may have a role in vivo in regulating breast tissue aromatase activity, IL-6 production and aromatase activity in breast tumour and adipose tissue from breast quadrants were examined. In 5/6 breasts examined so far, aromatase activity was highest in adipose tissue in the breast quadrant containing the tumour or on which the tumour impinged. There was a significant correlation (P < 0.05, Kendall's rank correlation) between IL-6 production and aromatase activity in these breast tissues. It is concluded that IL-6 may have an important role in regulating aromatase activity in breast tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Aromatase / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Growth Substances
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-1
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Dexamethasone
  • Aromatase