Endometrial Cancer News & Research Advances
Endometrial cancer is usually called “endometrioid” and is the most common cancer of the internal uterine lining. Although it is often very curable, research continues concerning the best treatment options and prevention.
A more aggressive form, uterine papillary serous cancer (UPSC), also arises from the uterine lining but can spread faster and requires additional treatment beyond surgery. There are other more uncommon forms, like carcinosarcoma or malignant mixed Mullerian tumor (MMMT) and others. Molecular and genomic research is in full swing for all uterine cancers and we look for tips, news and landmark breakthroughs to curate and blog about here.
The good news is that research on endometrial cancer prevention, earlier detection, and treatment is performed in research centers around the world. There is a LOT going on.
Even at this point, endometrial cancer is very often found early, when it is more curable and easier to treat. But more advanced endometrial cancer, while it is far less common, is harder to research. Most experts agree that for advanced endometrial cancer a clinical trial is very important to consider.
We keep tabs on the latest and greatest and post on the most significant of these developments as they come up. To discover more basics about Endometrial Uterine Cancer CLICK HERE.
We have known for decades that damaged DNA (mutations in genes) can alter how cells develop and can run amuck. When multiple genes are mutated, cancer may result. Researchers now understand that genes called oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes regulate how cells stay controlled and how abnormal changes in such genes can result in cancer.
We now know that endometrial cancer and cancer of the colon may be genetically related, much like breast and ovary cancer can be related. When certain genes are mutated they can be inherited and you may be at higher risk for both of these cancers.
A major gene which suppresses tumor growth is called PTEN, and in patients with endometrial cancer is often mutated. There are many other genes that regulate which cells may become cancerous, like the KRAS and the TP53 gene. Tests for these gene abnormalities may not only be helpful in cancer prevention but now play an increasing role in treatment options.
Nutrition and avoiding obesity are key in preventing the vast majority of endometrial cancers. We are not all born with bulletproof genes and some of us have to work harder than others to protect already weak genes. But this is very possible with attention to critical nutrients, exercise, stress reduction, toxin avoidance and more. Similarly, after a diagnosis of endometrial cancer and after treatment, there may be a role for integrative holistic proactive recurrence prevention strategies as well. The data for this is increasing.
Minimally invasive surgery
Surgery for endometrial cancer is curative in 75% of cases. In other words, three out of four can be cured with hysterectomy alone. Today, using minimally invasive surgery like laparoscopy and robotically assisted laparoscopy, the recovery is very fast. Big incisions are almost never required anymore for this kind of cancer. There are evolving surgical techniques and tools which improve results and this is also the topic of research studies.
Approximately 25% of the time, or one out of four, additional treatment is required. For endometrial cancer this is usually radiation therapy. There has been a lot of improvement in techniques to minimize damage to adjacent organs like the bladder and bowel and techniques are evolving as well. Research combinations of radiation and medications are reducing side effects.
Sometimes treatment requires systemic use of medications, usually chemotherapy. This is for advanced cases or in situations where the cancer has returned despite best efforts. Chemotherapy is still the standard of care in most situations but “targeted therapy” based on molecular assessment of genetic mutations is here today. Molecular precision medicine options as well as immunotherapy are going to replace chemotherapy at some point and we are fortunate to already have some of these options available today. Research is very intense in this area.