Objectives: To compare estrogen concentrations in endometrial cancer tissue with those in macroscopically normal endometrium and with certain morphological characteristics of the tumor and endocrine parameters in patients.
Methods: The estradiol content was evaluated by radioimmunoassay after homogenization and extraction in 78 adenocarcinomas (61 from postmenopausal patients).
Results: Higher concentrations of estradiol in tumor tissue samples than in macroscopically normal endometrium were found in patients of both reproductive and postmenopausal age. This difference was the same in patients with either endometrial carcinoma type I or type II. No association between tumor steroid receptor levels, estradiol concentrations in blood serum, and timing of menopause with intratumoral estradiol contents was discovered. Estradiol concentrations in tumor tissues correlated positively with the clinical stage of disease and rate of tumor invasion (in patients with peripheric/lower type of fat topography), and negatively with tumor differentiation stage (in patients with central/upper type of fat topography) and the percentage of intact double-stranded DNA in normal endometrium.
Conclusions: Tumor estrogen content in endometrial cancer has clinical significance that is modified in the presence of certain endocrine characteristics related to insulin resistance. The role of local estrogen production (aromatase activity) in this setting deserves special study.