Occult endometrial cancer and decision making for prophylactic hysterectomy in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer patients

Gynecol Oncol. 2006 Aug;102(2):189-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2005.12.032. Epub 2006 Feb 14.


Background and objective: Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is the most frequent form of hereditary colorectal cancer. In addition to the high lifetime risk for colorectal cancer in mutation carriers, there is also a remarkably increased risk for endometrial cancer (EC).

Methods: In this retrospective study, clinical and molecular approach to the individual decision making as to whether or not to perform a prophylactic hysterectomy in a subset of HNPCC patients is discussed. 147 female patients meeting at least one criterion of the Bethesda guidelines were included in this analysis between 1995 and 2003. After clinical and genetic counseling, patients gave informed written consent and microsatellite analysis, immunohistochemistry and sequencing of the mismatch repair genes MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 was performed.

Results: 11 of the analyzed patients had a personal history of EC and had undergone previous hysterectomy at ages 26 to 62 years. Prophylactic hysterectomy with oophorectomy was considered in postmenopausal women meeting the Amsterdam criteria and/or carrying a disease causing mismatch repair gene mutation who were operated on because of diagnosed colorectal cancer in our center for hereditary cancer. This procedure was performed in 4 patients. None of them had shown any symptoms of a gynecologic malignancy. Preoperative gynecological examination showed no evidence for EC or ovarian cancer in these patients. Postoperative histological examination showed EC stage T1b N0 M0 in 2 patients.

Conclusions: Since the efficiency of gynecological surveillance is uncertain, prophylactic hysterectomy could be an option for a subset of HNPCC patients and mutation carriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / surgery*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies