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Am J Clin Pathol. 2012 Oct;138(4):524-34.

Assessing endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma treated with progestin therapy.

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Department of Pathology, University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville, VA, USA.


The effects of increased amounts of progesterone on the endometrium, including such features as eosinophilic cytoplasmic metaplasia, glandular atrophy, and decidualized stroma, are well-known among surgical pathologists. These changes are typically seen as secondary effects of pregnancy or exogenous hormone therapy for birth control purposes or abnormal bleeding. Treatment with progesterone has become a viable alternative to hysterectomy in some patients with complex atypical hyperplasia (CAH) and well-differentiated endometrial carcinoma (WDC), especially those who are poor surgical candidates or those wishing to preserve fertility. To date, only 1 study has specifically examined the effects of progestin therapy on patients with a previous diagnosis of CAH or WDC. That study proposed a classification scheme for the assessment of treated CAH and WDC. The authors concluded that after 6 months of treatment, endometrial biopsy findings of persistent cytologic atypia and architectural abnormalities were associated with treatment failure. This current study aims to assess the previously proposed criteria in a cohort of 30 patients (18 with a diagnosis of CAH and 12 with a diagnosis of WDC), and determine the usefulness of these criteria in clinical practice. Our study confirms that cytologic atypia after 6 months of therapy is strongly associated with treatment failure, and should be an indication to pursue definitive surgical treatment in these patients.

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