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Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Oct;108 Suppl 5:769-73.

Advances in uterine leiomyoma research: conference overview, summary, and future research recommendations.

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  • 1National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Uterine leiomyomas (fibroids, myomas) are the most common tumors occurring in the genital tract of women over 30 years of age. These benign uterine smooth-muscle tumors are estimated to be clinically significant in at least 25% of the American female population during their reproductive years. Furthermore, when thorough pathologic examination of hysterectomy specimens has been performed in patients with or without clinical history of myomatous uteri, the incidence of fibroids is 77%, suggesting that these tumors are far more prevalent than estimated by clinical cases. In spite of their high prevalence, little is known concerning the etiology or the molecular basis of their development and growth. It is well known that leiomyoma growth is regulated by ovarian steroid hormones, yet the exact molecular pathway(s) involved in tumor growth and the role of genetic susceptibility/predisposition and the environment are unclear. This article is an overview of some of the topics addressed at the conference on Women's Health and the Environment: The Next Century--Advances in Uterine Leiomyoma Research. A summary of research needs and recommendations for future research directions based on conference discussions are also presented.

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