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Reproduction. 2004 Mar;127(3):293-304.

Endometriosis and the neoplastic process.

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Section of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.


Endometriosis is a frequent disorder that commonly presents with infertility and pelvic pain. Although the precise aetiology of endometriosis is unclear, it is generally considered to involve multiple genetic, environmental, immunological, angiogenic and endocrine processes. Genetic factors have been implicated in endometriosis but the susceptibility genes remain largely unknown. Although endometriosis is a benign disorder, recent studies of endometriosis suggest endometriosis could be viewed as a neoplastic process. Evidence to support this hypothesis includes the increased susceptibility to develop ovarian clear-cell and endometrioid cancers in the presence of endometriosis, and molecular similarities between endometriosis and cancer. In this article we discuss (i) the evidence suggesting that endometriosis might be viewed as a neoplastic process, and (ii) the implications of this hypothesis for elucidating the pathogenesis of endometriosis and developing novel methods of diagnostic classification and individualised treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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