Systemic and local hormone therapy for endometrial hyperplasia and early adenocarcinoma

Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jun;121(6):1172-1180. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31828d6186.


Objective: To estimate disease regression, persistence, and progression in women with complex endometrial hyperplasia and stage I endometrial carcinoma treated with a levonorgestrel-releasing-intrauterine system or oral progesterone.

Methods: Records of all patients who received progestin therapy for endometrial hyperplasia or early-stage endometrioid cancer between January 1999 and July 2011 were reviewed. Demographic data (age, body mass index), presentation, treatment modality and rationale, rates of response, recurrence, and salvage surgery were collected and compared using Student's t and χ tests. Fertility outcomes when available were analyzed.

Results: One hundred eighty-six women received primary hormone therapy for endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. Of these, 153 had adequate follow-up without surgery or radiation as part of primary treatment. Average age at diagnosis was 49.6 years (range 22-92 years). The most common reasons cited for hormone therapy were medical comorbidities (46%) and fertility (21%). Patients with hyperplasia compared with cancer had significantly different complete response (66-70% compared with 6-13%), initial response with recurrence (11-23% compared with 19-30%), and no response rates (11-19% compared with 57-75%), respectively (P<.001). Outcomes were not significantly different between the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system and oral progesterone among patients with cancer at all time points. In patients with hyperplasia, outcomes were not significantly different except during the 9-month to 12-month assessment where those who received systemic hormones were less likely to have disease persistence or progression compared with patients who had levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems. Three patients achieved pregnancy.

Conclusions: Hormone therapy has varied response rates among women with endometrial hyperplasia or cancer who do not undergo surgery. Close patient monitoring remains paramount given the high recurrence and high percentage of patients who will not respond.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endometrial Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Progestins / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Progestins