Typical ultrasound features of various endometrial pathologies described using International Endometrial Tumor Analysis (IETA) terminology in women with abnormal uterine bleeding

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jan;57(1):164-172. doi: 10.1002/uog.22109.


Objective: To describe the ultrasound features of different endometrial and other intracavitary pathologies inpre- and postmenopausal women presenting with abnormal uterine bleeding, using the International Endometrial Tumor Analysis (IETA) terminology.

Methods: This was a prospective observational multicenter study of consecutive women presenting with abnormal uterine bleeding. Unenhanced sonography with color Doppler and fluid-instillation sonography were performed. Endometrial sampling was performed according to each center's local protocol. The histological endpoints were cancer, atypical endometrial hyperplasia/endometrioid intraepithelial neoplasia (EIN), endometrial atrophy, proliferative or secretory endometrium, endometrial hyperplasia without atypia, endometrial polyp, intracavitary leiomyoma and other. For fluid-instillation sonography, the histological endpoints were endometrial polyp, intracavitary leiomyoma and cancer. For each histological endpoint, we report typical ultrasound features using the IETA terminology.

Results: The database consisted of 2856 consecutive women presenting with abnormal uterine bleeding. Unenhanced sonography with color Doppler was performed in all cases and fluid-instillation sonography in 1857. In 2216 women, endometrial histology was available, and these comprised the study population. Median age was 49 years (range, 19-92 years), median parity was 2 (range, 0-10) and median body mass index was 24.9 kg/m2 (range, 16.0-72.1 kg/m2 ). Of the study population, 843 (38.0%) women were postmenopausal. Endometrial polyps were diagnosed in 751 (33.9%) women, intracavitary leiomyomas in 223 (10.1%) and endometrial cancer in 137 (6.2%). None (0% (95% CI, 0.0-5.5%)) of the 66 women with endometrial thickness < 3 mm had endometrial cancer or atypical hyperplasia/EIN. Endometrial cancer or atypical hyperplasia/EIN was found in three of 283 (1.1% (95% CI, 0.4-3.1%)) endometria with a three-layer pattern, in three of 459 (0.7% (95% CI, 0.2-1.9%)) endometria with a linear endometrial midline and in five of 337 (1.5% (95% CI, 0.6-3.4%)) cases with a single vessel without branching on unenhanced ultrasound.

Conclusions: The typical ultrasound features of endometrial cancer, polyps, hyperplasia and atrophy and intracavitary leiomyomas, are described using the IETA terminology. The detection of some easy-to-assess IETA features (i.e. endometrial thickness < 3 mm, three-layer pattern, linear midline and single vessel without branching) makes endometrial cancer unlikely. Copyright © 2020 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords: IETA; cancer; diagnosis; endometrium; hyperplasia; leiomyoma; polyp; sonohysterography; ultrasonography.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endometrium / diagnostic imaging
  • Endometrium / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uterine Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology