Molecular and pathologic aspects of endometrial carcinogenesis

J Clin Oncol. 2006 Oct 10;24(29):4783-91. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2006.06.7173.


Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecological malignancy, with 41,000 new cases projected in the United States for 2006. Two different clinicopathologic subtypes are recognized: the estrogen-related (type I, endometrioid) and the non-estrogen-related types (type II, nonendometrioid such as papillary serous and clear cell). The morphologic differences in these cancers are mirrored in their molecular genetic profile with type I showing defects in DNA-mismatch repair and mutations in PTEN, K-ras, and beta-catenin, and type II showing aneuploidy and p53 mutations. This article reviews the genetic aspects of endometrial carcinogenesis and progression. We will define the precursor lesion of type I endometrioid cancer and the role of genetics and estrogen in its progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / physiopathology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Disease Progression
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Precancerous Conditions
  • Progestins / physiology


  • Estrogens
  • Progestins