Advances in the management of recurrent endometrial cancer

Am J Clin Oncol. 2015 Apr;38(2):206-12. doi: 10.1097/COC.0b013e31829a2974.


Objective: Endometrial carcinoma is the most common malignancy of the female reproductive tract. Although most cases are diagnosed at an early stage, endometrial carcinoma carries a poor prognosis when it recurs after previous definitive treatment or when diagnosed at an advanced stage. The purpose of this review is to summarize the contemporary management of recurrent endometrial carcinoma.

Methods: A literature review was conducted on the management of advanced, recurrent, or metastatic endometrial cancer to determine the best evidence to support the roles of surgery, radiation, and medical therapy.

Results: Radiation therapy (RT) has a role in the treatment of a local or regional recurrence, especially in the patient who has not had prior RT. For selected patients who experience a loco-regional recurrence and who have been treated with RT, pelvic exenteration may be an option. Those patients with metastatic disease are not curable and should be considered for palliative chemotherapy. The data support the use of carboplatin and paclitaxel as an acceptable alternative to cisplatin-based regimens. For women who progress after first-line treatment, the options are limited. Current clinical trials are evaluating the role of angiogenesis inhibitors and molecularly targeted therapy (including the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors and multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors) with the aim of identifying other novel agents that can be exploited for treatment of advanced disease.

Conclusions: The treatment of women with advanced, recurrent, or metastatic endometrial cancer represents an unmet need in oncology. Robust clinical trials are required to explore how to improve on therapy. The incorporation of molecularly targeted agents has the potential to improve outcomes for women who require treatment in both the first-line and second-line settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*