Endometrial carcinoma: pathology and genetics

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Abstract

In the Western world, endometrial carcinoma is the most common malignant tumour of the female genital tract and the fourth most common cancer in women after carcinomas of breast, colorectum, and lung. The annual incidence has been estimated at 10–20 per 100 000 women. In the United States, endometrial carcinoma accounts for approximately 6000 deaths per year. Two different clinicopathological subtypes are recognised: the oestrogen-related (type I, endometrioid) and the non-oestrogen related (type II, non-endometrioid). The clinicopathological differences are parallelled by specific genetic alterations, with type I showing microsatellite instability and mutations in PTEN, PIK3CA, K-Ras, and CTNNB1 (β-catenin), and type II exhibiting p53 mutations and chromosomal instability. This article reviews the genetic changes of endometrial carcinogenesis in the light of morphological features of the tumours and their precursors.

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