Past Issue

Volume 10, Number 3, Oct-Dec 2016, Pages: 270-277

Aromatase Inhibitors for Endometriosis-Associated Infertility; Do We Have Sufficient Evidence?

Hatem Abu Hashim, M.D., M.R.C.O.G., Ph.D., *,
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
*Corresponding Address: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty of Medicine Mansoura University Mansoura Egypt Email:


Orally active aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have gained attention for treatment of infertile women with endometriosis in whom aromatase p450 is aberrantly expressed. This review aimed to critically appraise and summarize the available evidence concerning the use of AIs for management of endometriosis-associated infertility. PubMed was searched to May 2015 with the following key words: endometriosis, infertility and aromatase. Priority was given for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) followed by other study designs. Main outcome measures were as follows: rates of clinical pregnancy, miscarriage and live birth as well as endocrine outcomes. Eighty-two abstracts were screened and six original articles were included. A RCT demonstrated that post-operative letrozole treatment did not improve spontaneous pregnancy rate. Another RCT reported no superiority of letrozole superovulation over clomiphene citrate (each combined with intrauterine insemination) in minimalmild endometriosis and previous laparoscopic treatment. Anastrozole significantly inhibited the growth of endometriotic cells and their estrogen production in culture. In assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles, dual suppression (Agonist/anastrozole) was tested in a pilot study with a pregnancy rate of 45% however, high pregnancy loss (30%) occurred. A retrospective study showed that letrozole may improve endometrial receptivity in endometriotic patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). An opposite view from an in vitro study showed lower estradiol production and aromatase expression in cultured granulosa cells from endometriotic women undergoing IVF and marked reduction under letrozole. In conclusion, current evidence is limited. More trials are warranted to enhance our knowledge and provide a clear and unequivocal evidence to guide our clinical management of infertile women with endometriosis using AIs.