The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

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January - March 2020, Volume 16, Issue 1
General Endocrinology

Armasu I, Preda C, Ianole V, Mocanu V, Hristov I, Andriescu EC, Cretu-Silivestru I, Vasiliu, Dascalu CG, Lupascu CD, Crumpei I, Serban DN, Serban IL , Ciobanu Apostol DG

Insights on Aromatase Immunohistochemistry: Variations between Intrinsic Molecular Subtypes of Breast Cancers

Acta Endo (Buc) 2020, 16 (1): 22-29
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2020.22

Context. Aromatase is a key enzyme in local estrogen production by androgen conversion, especially in women post-menopause. There have been controversies concerning aromatase localization in breast carcinomas and its association with current histopathological variables. Material and Methods. Using polyclonal antibody immunohistochemistry we assessed (by intensity and percentage scores) the immunolocalization of aromatase in 70 tissue samples, and described particularities within the molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Results. Aromatase was found in all tissue compartments: tumor (95.7%), stroma (58.6%) and adipose tissue (94.3%). Aromatase expression in tumor cells correlated inversely with tumor grading (p=-0.361, p=0.027), and positively with estrogen receptor status (ER, p=0.143, p<0.001). Dividing the study group by intrinsic subtypes, a strongly inversely association between tumor aromatase and grading (p=-0.486, p<0.001), and between stromal aromatase and Ki67-index (p=-0.448, p=0.048) was observed in luminal A breast cancer. Tumor aromatase and ER percentage scores had stronger correlations in luminal B HER2 negative (p=0.632, p=0.002), and positive (p=0.324, p=0.026) tumors. In contrast, in triple negative tumors, a positive association stromal aromatase and Ki67 index (p=- 0.359, p=0.007) was observed. Conclusion. Local aromatase was linked to better tumor differentiation and proliferation in luminal breast subtypes, and not in triple negative cases, suggesting a potential prognostic role of aromatase in breast carcinomas.

Keywords: aromatase, breast cancer, obesity, adipose tissue.

Correspondence: Cristina Preda MD, “Gr. T. Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy - Endocrinology, 1 Blvd. Independentei, 700111, Iasi, Romania, E-mail: