Risk factors for young premenopausal women with endometrial cancer

Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Mar;105(3):575-80. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000154151.14516.f7.


Objective: Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States. The mean age at diagnosis is 61 years; however, 5-30% of women are aged younger than 50 years at the time of diagnosis. The objective of this study was to conduct a clinical and pathologic review of endometrial cancers diagnosed in premenopausal women aged younger than 50 years, to better identify the risk factors for this subgroup of women.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with histologically confirmed endometrial cancer treated at the University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center from 1989 to 2003. Clinical characteristics including age, body mass index (BMI), parity, diabetes, and personal or family history of cancer were obtained from the medical record. Pathologic information was obtained from pathology reports.

Results: Twelve percent (188/1531) of all patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma were aged younger than 50 years. The mean age at diagnosis was 41 years (range 21-49 years). Mean BMI was 34 kg/m(2) (range 18-68); 58% of patients had a BMI of 30 or greater. Fifty-five percent were nulliparous and 39% reported irregular menstrual cycles. The incidence of both diabetes and hypertension was 23%. Thirty-six patients (19%) had synchronous ovarian cancers.

Conclusion: We found that the majority of patients diagnosed with endometrial cancer at a young age were obese and nulliparous. In addition, we found a high incidence of synchronous primary ovarian cancers in this cohort of young, premenopausal women.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstruation Disturbances / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Parity
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Premenopause*
  • Risk Factors