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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Aug-Sep;106(1-5):71-5. Epub 2007 May 24.

Aromatase inhibitors in ovarian stimulation.

Author information

1
Division of Reproductive Sciences, The University of Toronto and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Canada. rfcasper@aol.com

Abstract

The selective estrogen receptor modulator, clomiphene citrate (CC), has been the principal drug used for induction of ovulation in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). CC is associated with adverse side effects and low pregnancy rates attributed to long-lasting estrogen receptor depletion. Anastrozole and letrozole are potent, non-steroidal, reversible aromatase inhibitors, developed for postmenopausal breast cancer therapy. We hypothesized that aromatase inhibitors could mimic the action of CC in reducing estrogen negative feedback on follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion, without depleting estrogen receptors. In a series of preliminary studies, we reported the success of aromatase inhibition in inducing ovulation in anovulatory women with PCOS. Moreover, we showed that concomitant use of aromatase inhibitors resulted in a significant reduction of the FSH dose needed for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. We suggest that aromatase inhibitors act through an increase in endogenous gonadotropin secretion as well as through increased intraovarian androgen levels that may increase ovarian FSH receptors. Recently, we demonstrated the safety of aromatase inhibitors in pregnancy outcome studies examining spontaneous pregnancy loss, multiple pregnancy rates and congenital anomalies compared to a control group of infertility patients treated with CC.

PMID:
17604615
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsbmb.2007.05.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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