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Med Electron Microsc. 2004 Sep;37(3):188-92.

K-ras mutation may promote carcinogenesis of endometriosis leading to ovarian clear cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8666, Japan.


Endometriosis shares some features characteristic of malignancy; however, it remains unclear whether endometriosis is a precursor to malignant disease. The objective is to determine the genetic relationship between endometriosis and ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCCA). Among 37 Japanese patients with OCCA who underwent primary surgery at Showa University Hospital between 1987 and 1999, K-ras mutations were detected in 6. Three of these patients had ectopic endometrial tissue adjacent to the site of carcinoma. These cases demonstrated areas of endometriosis and areas of OCCA bordered by atypical endometriosis. We retrieved cells from regions of endometriosis and atypical endometriosis, as well as OCCA cells, by laser microdissection in each case. K-ras mutations were analyzed in each specimen dissected. DNA analysis of each region revealed that K-ras mutations were detectable in OCCA but not in endometriosis or atypical endometriosis. It is thought that a number of genetic alterations are involved in malignant transformation. It is possible that K-ras mutations are associated with malignant transformation of atypical endometriosis into OCCA, although further research is needed to define this mechanism.

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