Endometrial adenocarcinoma

Microsc Res Tech. 1993 Jun 15;25(3):246-54. doi: 10.1002/jemt.1070250306.


Adenocarcinoma of the endometrium is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States, accounting for some 36,000 cases of invasive cancer each year. Hyperplastic lesions of the endometrium follow a continuum, with the risk of progression to carcinoma being related to the severity of the disorder. Risk factors associated with the development of adenocarcinoma include hyperplasia, obesity, menstrual abnormalities, diabetes, hypertension, prior pelvic irradiation, sequential oral contraceptive use, diet, and exogenous estrogen use. There is also some evidence of genetic predisposition, and some data indicating the possibility of specific genetic abnormalities and activation of oncogenes as factors determining the etiology of the disease. At this time there is no accepted screening test for endometrial carcinoma, though the role of immunochemistry techniques for screening and follow-up has just begun to be realized. Dilatation and curettage along with hysteroscopy remain the major means of diagnosis. A variety of prognostic variables including tumor cell type, histologic grade, depth of myometrial invasion, status of peritoneal cytology, presence of disease in preformed vascular spaces, presence of adnexal metastases, and presence of cervical involvement have been defined. Although the treatment plan for each patient must be individualized, the mainstay of treatment remains total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Metastatic and recurrent disease is usually treated with hormonal therapy and systemic chemotherapy. Radiation therapy like surgery in recurrent disease is only applicable for the treatment of local recurrences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / therapy
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors