Biologic markers in endometrial cancer treatment

APMIS. 2009 Oct;117(10):693-707. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2009.02467.x.


With a lifetime risk among women of 2-3%, endometrial cancer is the most common pelvic gynecologic malignancy in industrialized countries. Approximately 75% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage with a tumor confined to the uterine corpus. Although most patients are cured by surgery alone, about 15-20% with no signs of locally advanced or metastatic disease at primary treatment recurs, with limited responsiveness to systemic therapy. The most common basis for determining the risk of recurrent disease has been classification of endometrial cancers into two subtypes. Type I, associated with a good prognosis, accounts for the majority of cases and is associated with a low-stage, low-grade and endometrioid histology. In contrast, type II, associated with a poor prognosis, is characterized by a high-stage, high-grade and non-endometrioid histology. However, the prognostic value of this distinction is limited, as up to 20% of type I endometrial cancers recur, while half of type II cancers do not. We review the current literature on epidemiology, etiology, pathology, molecular alterations, staging, treatment and prognostic factors in endometrial cancer. Ongoing molecular-based clinical trials and newly reported molecular alterations with a potential for development of new targeted therapy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / mortality
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Oncogenes
  • Prognosis
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptors, Estrogen