Current treatment of endometriosis is mainly based on surgery and ovarian suppressive agents. In the last 10 years, it has been demonstrated that aromatase P450, a key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis, may have a pathogenic role in endometriosis because it is aberrantly expressed in endometriotic implants and in eutopic endometrium of women with endometriosis. Therefore, inhibition of aromatase activity may represent a new therapeutic option for endometriosis. Case reports and observational studies have shown that pain symptoms caused by endometriosis quickly improve after administration of aromatase inhibitors. Limited data are available on the long-term course of pain symptoms after completion of treatment with aromatase inhibitors; however, some recent studies suggest that symptoms may recur at short-term follow-up. A range of results are reported on the effects of aromatase inhibitors on endometriotic lesions, with some authors describing improvements and other authors reporting persistence of pelvic lesions at second-look laparoscopy after treatment. No severe adverse effect has been reported during treatment with aromatase inhibitors both in pre- and postmenopausal women. On the basis of the available data, administration of aromatase inhibitors should now be offered only to the small number of women who have severe pain despite previous surgical and hormonal therapies. Further research in the form of randomized controlled trials will be required before recommending the routine use of these agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)