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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013;14(10):5589-97.

Endometriosis, leiomyoma and adenomyosis: the risk of gynecologic malignancy.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Research and Training Hospital, Infertility Research and Treatment Center, Suleymaniye Maternity, Istanbul, Turkey E-mail :


The aim of this review article was to evaluate the relationship and the possible etiological mechanisms between endometriosis, leiomyoma (LM) and adenomyosis and gynecological cancers, such as ovarian and endometrial cancer and leiomyosarcoma (LMS). MEDLINE was searched for all articles written in the English literature from July 1966 to May 2013. Reports were collected systematically and all the references were also reviewed. Malignant transformation of gynecologic benign diseases such as endometriosis, adenomyosis and LM to ovarian and endometrial cancer remains unclear. Hormonal factors, inflammation, familial predisposition, genetic alterations, growth factors, diet, altered immune system, environmental factors and oxidative stress may be causative factors in carcinogenesis. Early menarche, low parity, late menopause and infertility have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of these cancers. Ovarian cancers and endometriosis have been shown to have common genetic alterations such as loss of heterozygosity (LOH), PTEN, p53, ARID1A mutations. MicroRNAs have also been implicated in malignant transformation. Inflammation releases proinflammatory cytokines, and activates tumor associated macrophages (TAMS) and nuclear factor kappa b (NF-KB) signaling pathways that promote genetic mutations and carcinogenesis. MED12 mutations in LM and smooth muscle tumors of undetermined malignant potential (STUMP) may contribute to malignant transformation to LMS. A hyperestrogenic state may be shared in common with pathogenesis of adenomyosis, LM and endometrial cancer. However, the effect of these benign gynecologic diseases on endometrial cancer should be studied in detail. This review study indicates that endometriosis, LM, adenomyosis may be associated with increased risk of gynecological cancers such as endometrial and ovarian cancers. The patients who have these gynecological benign diseases should be counseled about the future risks of developing cancer. Further studies are needed to investigate the relationship between STUMPs, LMS and LM and characteristics and outcome endometrial carcinoma in adenomyotic patients.

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