Elevated aromatase expression correlates with cervical carcinoma progression

Poornachand Veerapaneni, Nameer Kirma, Hareesh B. Nair, Luciano S. Hammes, Kevin L. Hall, Rajeshwar Rao Tekmal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: We have previously demonstrated that aromatase mRNA is induced in cervical carcinomas compared to normal tissue, suggesting that in situ aromatase expression leading to elevated local estrogen production may contribute to cervical carcinogensis. Our objectives are to examine 1) whether aromatase protein and activity are induced in cervical carcinomas, 2) aromatase expression correlates with disease stage, and 3) inflammatory cytokines (e.g., IL-6 and TNFα) may correlate with aromatase expression. Methods: RNA and protein were isolated from human cervical carcinomas and normal cervical biopsies to examine aromatase expression, using real-time RT-PCR, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Aromatase activity in tissue was measured using the tritiated water release method. IL-6 and TNFα expression was also examined. Results: Aromatase protein and activity levels were increased in cervical carcinomas compared to normal tissue. RNA levels correlated significantly with disease progression, with highest aromatase expression detected in stage IV tumors (p < 0.001, R2 = 0.77). Aromatase promoters 1.3 and 1.4 were elevated in cervical carcinomas and in cervical cancer cells. The expression of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNFα, known to induce aromatase, significantly correlated with aromatase expression (R2 > 0.9). TNFα treatment induced aromatase expression in cervical cancer cells. Conclusion: Increased aromatase protein and activity in cervical carcinomas and the correlation of its expression with disease stage implicates it in cervical carcinogenesis. The correlation of IL-6 and TNFα expression with aromatase suggests that these inflammatory cytokines may induce aromatase expression, which is confirmed by induction of aromatase expression due to TNFα treatment of cervical cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Aromatase
  • Aromatase induction
  • Cervical cancer
  • Disease progression
  • IL-6
  • TNF alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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