Familial hyperestrogenism in both sexes: Clinical, hormonal, and molecular studies of two siblings

Regina M. Martin, Chin J. Lin, Mirian Y. Nishi, Ana Elisa C Billerbeck, Ana Claudia Latronico, David W. Russell, Berenice B. Mendonca

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47 Scopus citations


Familial hyperestrogenism is a rare clinical condition of unknown etiology in which patients present excessive androgen to estrogen conversion. Excessive aromatization is primarily ascribed to abnormalities in the CYP19. Mice that lack steroid 5α-reductase type 1 also exhibit hyperestrogenism due to an increased availability of androgen precursors. Here we studied two adult siblings, born to unrelated parents, who presented clinical and hormonal evidence of estrogen excess. The man was treated with topical dihydrotestosterone, which promoted adequate virilization. The woman was treated with anastrazole, a potent aromatase inhibitor, with normalization of menstrual cycles. Genetic linkage to the steroid 5α-reductase type 1 gene (SRD5A1) was ruled out in this family. A similar analysis did not rule out linkage to CYP19, although no mutation was identified in the coding region of this gene. Aromatase mRNA was at least 10-fold more abundant in the female patient's skin fibroblasts vs. the control. Southern analysis of genomic DNA did not reveal rearrangements or amplification of the coding region of CYP19. We conclude that the phenotype of familial hyperestrogenism includes prepubertal gynecomastia, hypogonadism, and short stature in men, and precocious thelarche, macromastia, enlarged uterus, and menstrual irregularities in women. Topical dihydrotestosterone is an efficient alternative treatment in men with hyperestrogenism; in addition, second generation aromatase inhibitors are useful in both sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3027-3034
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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