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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1993 Mar;44(4-6):577-82.

Local aromatase activity in human breast tissues.

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Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The presence of oestradiol in malignant breast cells is considered to be an important factor in the promotion of growth of the tumor. Therefore the regulation of the local high intra-tissue oestradiol concentrations, regardless of plasma concentrations, has been investigated. Experimental evidence suggests that in situ biosynthesis of oestrogens is at least partly responsible for the local accumulation of these steroids. In this paper we report further data on measurements in fatty and tumor tissues of local aromatase activities and of concentrations of substrates and products of this enzyme. Data are given on localization of aromatase and on steroid concentrations in tumors and in adipose tissues dissected from different quadrants of breasts with malignant tumors. In adipose tissues small variations in steroid concentrations in fatty tissues were found. No tumor-directed gradients in the adipose tissue-concentrations of the androgens dehydro-epiandrosterone, 5-androstene-3 beta, 17 beta-diol, 4-androstene-3,17-dione and testosterone and of the oestrogens oestradiol, oestrone and their sulfates could be detected. Furthermore no consistent pattern could be recognized in the aromatase activities in the fatty tissues dissected from tumor-bearing and non-affected quadrants of the same breast. No correlations between aromatase activity measured in vitro and product concentrations in vivo were found. Therefore the mechanisms for regulation of the local oestradiol levels in breast tissues remain unknown.

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