Four different genetic abnormalities may occur in endometrioid adenocarcinomas of the endometrium (mircosatellite instability and mutations in the PTEN, k-RAS and beta-catenin genes), whereas nonendometrioid carcinomas of the endometrium often have p53 mutations and loss of heterozygosity on several chromosomes. Occasionally, a nonendometrioid carcinoma may develop as a result of dedifferentiation of a preexisting endometrioid carcinoma; in such a case, the tumor exhibits overlapping clinical, morphologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular features of the 2 types. The insaturation of microsatellite instability in endometrial carcinogenesis seems to occur late in the transition from complex hyperplasia to carcinoma, and it is preceded by progressive inactivation of MLH-1 by promoter hypermethylation. Moreover, the endometrioid adenocarcinomas that exhibit microsatellite instability show a stepwise progressive accumulation of secondary mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes that contain short-tandem repeats in their coding sequences. Mutations in the PTEN and k-RAS genes are also frequent in endometrioid adenocarcinomas of the endometrium, particularly in the tumors that exhibit microsatellite instability, whereas beta-catenin mutations do not seem to be associated with such a phenomenon.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.