Molecular characterization of endometrial cancer and therapeutic implications

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Purpose of review

This article reviews the emerging comprehensive genomic classification of endometrial carcinoma and discusses the therapeutic implications of these subgroups.

Recent findings

Comprehensive, multiplatform evaluation of endometrial cancers by the Cancer Genome Atlas stratified the molecular aberrations into four distinct subtypes: POLE mutations, microsatellite instability, copy-number low/microsatellite stable, and copy-number high/‘serous-like.’ POLE-mutant tumors have a favorable prognosis and may often be overtreated. Microsatellite instability hypermutated tumors commonly have alterations in the phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases/AKT/mechanistic target of rapamycin pathway and limiting targeted therapy to this group may lead to greater response rates. Copy-number low/microsatellite stable tumors represent the majority of grade 1 and grade 2 endometrioid cancers and have an intermediate prognosis, few TP53 mutations, but frequent mutations in genes involved with Wingless-related integration site signaling. Approximately 25% of high-grade endometrioid tumors have mutational profiles that classify as copy-number high/‘serous-like’ and might benefit from treatment approaches similar to those for serous tumors.


Molecular characterization of endometrial cancer classifies tumors into prognostically significant subtypes with a broad range of therapeutic implications.

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