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Intrauterine devices can be used to treat endometrial cancer
Date:9/28/2010

Intrauterine devices, originally developed as contraceptives, can also be used to treat and cure cancer of the endometrium according to new research published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology [1] today (Wednesday 29 September). The finding opens the way for young women with the disease, which affects the lining of the womb, to be treated without the need for a hysterectomy, thus preserving their fertility until they have had all the children they want.

Endometrial cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women worldwide. In 2008 there were an estimated 287,630 cases diagnosed in the world, accounting for 4.8% of all female cancers, and 74,170 deaths (2.2% of all female deaths from cancer) [2]. The usual treatment is a total hysterectomy with the removal of the womb and ovaries, but this results in the end of the woman's fertility. Sometimes it is possible for patients to be given oral hormone therapy to slow down the growth of the cancer, but systemic hormone therapy can have adverse side effects such as allergic skin rashes, nausea and vomiting, headaches and abnormal uterine bleeding.

Now, a team of researchers in Italy has conducted the first prospective clinical trial to see whether an intrauterine device (IUD) releasing the progestin hormone levonorgestrel [3], combined with a monthly injection of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) for six months could halt and reverse the cancer's growth in women aged 40 or younger. Intrauterine levonorgestrel inhibits growth of the endometrial layer of the womb, while GnRH stops the production of oestrogen, which is the hormone that promotes the development of endometrial cancer.

Women were only eligible for the study if they had atypical endometrial hyperplasia (AEH) a precursor of endometrial cancer or early cancer that had not spread and that was confined to the inner layer of the womb, the endometrium. Between 1996 and 2009, 39 patients, aged between 20 and 40,
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Contact: Emma Mason (media enquiries only)
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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