Uterine carcinosarcoma: A review of the literature

Gynecol Oncol. 2015 Jun;137(3):581-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2015.03.041. Epub 2015 Mar 21.


Objective: Uterine carcinosarcomas (UCSs) are aggressive tumors previously considered to be sarcomas, but now recognized as malignancies composed of metaplastic transformation of epithelial elements. Much of the management for UCS has been extrapolated from studies of endometrial carcinomas and sarcomas. This article critically reviews the literature pertinent to the pathology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of women with UCS.

Methods: MEDLINE was searched for English language literature on UCS with a focus on the past 20years. Given the rarity of this tumor, studies were not limited by design or number of reported patients.

Results: UCS is biologically a de-differentiated endometrial carcinoma with its own pathogenesis and molecular profile. It commonly presents with extrauterine disease which can be identified by comprehensive surgical staging. Most UCS patients are candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy. The role of radiation is less clear. Combination therapy, while commonly used, has not been studied in depth. The high recurrence rate and poor overall survival for UCS suggest an ongoing need for clinical trials for UCS specifically.

Conclusions: UCS represents a distinct subtype of uterine malignancy, and should be studied as such via focused clinical trials.

Keywords: Carcinosarcoma; Endometrial; Mixed Mullerian; Sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinosarcoma / drug therapy
  • Carcinosarcoma / pathology*
  • Carcinosarcoma / surgery
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Uterine Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery