About 2.8 percent of women will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute. Contributing factors to the disease, in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the endometrium, include hormone therapy, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus (http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/corp.html).
The American Cancer Society says that cancer of the endometrium - the lining of the uterus or womb -- is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. The organization projects that in 2015 approximately 54,870 new cases of cancer of the body of the uterus (uterine body or corpus, including the endometrium) will be diagnosed, and 10,170 women will die from such cancers (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrialcancer/detailedguide/endometrial-uterine-cancer-what-is-endometrial-cancer ).
Until now patients with endometrial cancer were classified as to their risk of disease in terms of a combination of clinical and tissue characteristics, such as their age, overall health data and the "growth and invasion of their tumor," according to researchers at the University of Manchester. Now these researchers can genetically profile high-risk womb cancer patients, enabling the patients to receive more appropriate treatment (University of Manchester. "Potential for a more personalized approach to womb cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2015; www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150507081741.htm).
While approximately 15 to 20 percent of endometrial cancer patients have high-risk disease, the optimal treatment approach for them has not been evident. The Manchester researchers have been studying genetic alterations in high-risk endometrial cancer, to determine whether they could be used to develop tumor subtypes. The team included Professor Richard Edmondson, Professor of Gynecological Oncology at The University of Manchester and Saint Mary's Hospital, as well as Dr Emma Crosbie and Professor Henry Kitchener from Manchester.
According to Prof. Edmondson, "Previous work, using comprehensive genetic profiling, has suggested that endometrial cancer can be classified into four subtypes. Our study has explored whether it is possible to use a simpler approach to detect subgroups in high risk patients."
Analyzing samples from 116 patients with endometrial cancer to find genetic variations, the international TransPORTEC research consortium discovered that genetic subtypes existed in their group of patients and that the classification procedure could predict which patients were more likely to relapse. The analysis enabled the researchers to identify distinctive genetic mutations that they could target with specific anti-cancer drugs.
Prof. Edmondson concluded, "It looks like these cancers classed as 'high-risk' in fact vary significantly in outcome. Our results could be used to refine risk assessment for endometrial cancer patients and allow doctors to choose either a less aggressive approach or more targeted treatment for individual patients." (University of Manchester. "Potential for a more personalized approach to womb cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150507081741.htm).
Source: University of Manchester