Endometrial cancer after endometrial ablation: a systematic review

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2022 Dec 5;32(12):1555-1560. doi: 10.1136/ijgc-2022-003866.


Objective: To investigate whether a previously performed endometrial ablation is associated with the development and diagnosis of endometrial cancer.

Methods: First, a systematic review was performed of the articles reporting the incidence of endometrial cancer in patients treated with endometrial ablation. Second, a systematic review was performed to identify all individual cases of endometrial cancer after ablation to evaluate presenting symptoms, diagnostic work-up, potential risk factors, and the type and stage of the endometrial cancer. A systematic search was performed, using Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library databases, from inception through February 24, 2022.

Results: Based on 11 included studies, the incidence of endometrial cancer in a population of 29 102 patients with a prior endometrial ablation ranged from 0.0% to 1.6%.A total of 38 cases of endometrial cancer after ablation were identified. In 71% of cases (17 of 24 cases), vaginal bleeding was the first presenting symptom. With transvaginal ultrasound it was possible to identify and measure the endometrial thickness in eight cases. Endometrium sampling was successful in 16 of 18 described cases (89%). In 18 of 20 cases (90%) pathologic examination showed early-stage endometrioid adenocarcinoma (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage I).

Conclusion: Previous endometrial ablation is not associated with the development of endometrial cancer. Diagnostic work-up is not impeded by previous endometrial ablation. In addition, endometrial cancers after endometrial ablation are not detected at an advanced stage.

Keywords: Endometrial Neoplasms; Endometrium; Surgical Procedures, Operative.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometrial Ablation Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Endometrium / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menorrhagia* / pathology
  • Menorrhagia* / surgery
  • Uterine Hemorrhage