Navigation Links
Pathology study tracks uterine changes with mifepristone
Date:3/7/2011

Research continues to show that the controversial abortion drug mifepristone might have another use, as a therapeutic option besides hysterectomy for women who suffer from severe symptoms associated with uterine fibroids.

The University of Rochester Medical Center in 2004 began investigating mifepristone, in a class of drugs known as progesterone receptor modulators (PRMs), to treat fibroids, which affect roughly half of all women younger than 50. Results showed the drug shrank the fibroids and greatly improved the quality of life for the women involved in the clinical trial.

But concern over whether PRMs could cause tissue changes that signal uterine cancer dampened a growing interest in the drug. The latest URMC study demonstrates that PRMs do not appear to trigger cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions in the lining of the uterus, at least in the short term, according to an article in the journal Human Pathology.

"Our biggest concern was cancer, and although we saw significant changes in the endometrial tissue specific to the action of PRMs, all of the changes were benign and well characterized in the laboratory," said lead investigator Julietta Fiscella, M.D., clinical assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at URMC and Director of Pathology at Highland Hospital, an affiliate of URMC.

Fiscella analyzed 152 tissue samples from 53 premenopausal women in the Rochester, N.Y., area, who volunteered to take mifepristone at very low doses for up to 18 months to alleviate miserable symptoms such as pain and heavy bleeding. She compared samples of unexposed endometrial tissue to samples from women who took the drug in 2.5 mg or 5 mg dosages. (To end an unwanted pregnancy, mifepristone is given in a single-day dose of 200 to 600 mg.)

The changes most evident in the drug-exposed tissue included fluid-filled glands that appeared as scattered, benign cysts of varying size, and some abnormal blood vessels. These features were consistent in 86 percent of the drug-exposed samples, with no statistical differences between the two doses, the study said.

An international panel of pathology experts also conducted a blind review of the 152 samples and confirmed Fiscella's findings, she said. The results suggest that if mifepristone or PRMs with similar properties are eventually approved for treatment of uterine fibroids, pathologists will have a reliable way to track and compare the effects of different doses and treatment schedules (weekly versus daily) on patients during their childbearing years.

The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development funded the study.

Fiscella said larger studies with longer follow-up are needed to more fully characterize the low-dose effect of mifeprisone, and to confirm that changes in the uterus resolve after a woman stops taking the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone in 2000 for the sole purpose of ending unwanted pregnancies, and has since issued warnings due to a small number of deaths that occurred at the highest doses. Distribution of the drug is strictly controlled, although the FDA does allow it to be studied by qualified physicians. In addition to research into its effect on common gynecological conditions, scientists in California reported in the journal Science in 2006 that mifepristone blocked the formation of breast tumors in mice, suggesting a potential new path to interfere with the hormone progesterone's role in breast cancer. Since then mifepristone has been actively studied by other scientists as a potential cancer treatment.

Leiomyoma, the medical term for uterine fibroids, routinely causes iron-deficiency anemia due to excessive menstrual bleeding. Thousands of women annually opt for hysterectomies, a major surgery, or have the fibroids removed through minimally invasive embolization because no other medical treatment has been proven effective.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Response to immune protein determines pathology of multiple sclerosis
2. Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
3. Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
4. New insight into Alzheimers disease pathology
5. Association for Molecular Pathology joins ACLU to challenge gene patents
6. Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
7. Shaw to receive prestigious honor for plant pathology research
8. Ewen Callaway named 2009 APS Plant Pathology Journalism awardee
9. Small molecule inhibits pathology associated with myotonic dystrophy type 1
10. K-States plant pathology head named fellow of Phytopathology Society
11. Tips from the American Journal of Pathology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/21/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... been appointed to the new role of principal ... has been named the director of customer development. ... , NuData,s chief technical officer. The moves reflect ... development teams in response to high customer demand ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to ... hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016 The Department of Transport Management ... 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... DIEGO , June 24, 2016 ... more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test has ... HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... UAS ... the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, ... proud to add Target to its list of well-respected retailers. This list includes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston Methodist ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as their ... agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, ... connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. ... the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring Houston ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   ... it has secured $1 million in debt financing from ... to ramp up automation and to advance its drug ... for its new facility. "SVB has been ... goes beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," ...
Breaking Biology Technology: