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Endometriosis and ovarian cancer: links, risks, and challenges faced

Authors Pavone ME, Lyttle B

Received 13 March 2015

Accepted for publication 17 April 2015

Published 1 July 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 663—672

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S66824

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Mary Ellen Pavone,1 Brianna M Lyttle2

1Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA

Abstract: Endometriosis is a benign gynecological condition characterized by specific histological, molecular, and clinical findings. It affects 5%–10% of premenopausal women, is a cause of infertility, and has been implicated as a precursor for certain types of ovarian cancer. Advances in technology, primarily the ability for whole genome sequencing, have led to the discovery of new mutations and a better understanding of the function of previously identified genes and pathways associated with endometriosis associated ovarian cancers (EAOCs) that include PTEN, CTNNB1 (β-catenin), KRAS, microsatellite instability, ARID1A, and the unique role of inflammation in the development of EAOC. Clinically, EAOCs are associated with a younger age at diagnosis, lower stage and grade of tumor, and are more likely to occur in premenopausal women when compared with other ovarian cancers. A shift from screening strategies adopted to prevent EAOCs has resulted in new recommendations for clinical practice by national and international governing bodies. In this paper, we review the common histologic and molecular characteristics of endometriosis and ovarian cancer, risks associated with EAOCs, clinical challenges and give recommendations for providers.

Keywords: clinical, molecular, pathways, inflammation, premenopausal

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