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Endometrial Cancer: How Molecular Testing Can Improve Treatment Strategies for Women

May 20, 2015

Hello again and thanks for tuning in! Today I am going to share some recent work we have been doing in endometrial cancer or cancer of the ‘womb.’ This is the most common cancer in women in the developed world yet it is surprisingly understudied.  More than any other cancer I treat there is profound inconsistency in how pathologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists manage this disease across the globe. Although most women with endometrial cancer do very well and can be cured with surgery alone, many women with ‘bad’ types of endometrial cancer or recurrence will die from this disease. 

Why are we not making progress in this disease? Put simply, we have a hard time distinguishing the ‘bad’ subtypes of endometrial cancer and often lump a group of very different tumour types together when we study them. Then we have a tough time figuring out what treatment works.

To fix this, we have just published new research that can accurately tell these tumours apart via a series of three relatively simple molecular tests. These tests can be performed in almost any cancer centre.

This work stemmed from a big collaborative study that showed distinct molecular subgroups could be identified with very different survival outcomes in endometrial cancer. If we can consistently sort these tumours in a feasible manner, we can then study the ’apples with the apples’ and the ‘pears with the pears’ and come to agreement across all centres as to what works best. 

In my next blog post, I will share more about our work to help young women with endometrial cancer.