Objective: We reviewed reported cases of grade 1 endometrial adenocarcinoma that were conservatively managed with hormonal therapy in an effort to identify the most effective treatment regimen.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE and other databases for English-language articles describing patients with grade 1 endometrial adenocarcinoma who were treated with hormonal therapy. The search included articles published between January 1966 and December 2003. The following key words were used: endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, adenocarcinoma, hormones, progesterone, medroxyprogesterone acetate, megestrol acetate, conservative therapy, fertility, and female. A total of 79 articles were found. Studies were excluded for the following reasons: advanced stage, metastatic or recurrent disease, progestin use after radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery, concurrent with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, administration of progestin other than orally or intramuscularly, tumor confined to a polyp, grade 2 or 3 disease, undocumented grade, nonendometrioid histology, progestin use in conjunction with ovarian wedge resection or other hormones, and hyperplasia. Our study ultimately included 81 patients in 27 articles.
Results: Sixty-two patients (76%) responded to treatment. The median time to response was 12 weeks (range, 4-60 weeks). Fifteen patients (24%) who initially responded to treatment recurred. The median time to recurrence was 19 months (range, 6-44 months). Ten (67%) of the patients with recurrence ultimately underwent total abdominal hysterectomy. Residual endometrial carcinoma was found in six patients (60%). Nineteen patients never responded. Twenty patients were able to become pregnant at least once after completing treatment. The median follow-up was 36 weeks (range, 0 weeks-30 years). No patients died of their disease.
Conclusion: The majority of patients reported with well-differentiated endometrial adenocarcinoma who undergo conservative treatment with a progestational agent respond to treatment. When an initial response is not achieved or when disease recurs, carcinoma extending beyond the uterus is rare.