Abnormalities detected on transvaginal ultrasonography in tamoxifen-treated postmenopausal breast cancer patients may represent endometrial cystic atrophy. Am J Obstet Gynecol

Department of Gynecology, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.7). 06/1998; 178(6):1145-50. DOI: 10.1016/S0002-9378(98)70315-1
Source: PubMed


This study was conducted to examine the histopathologic changes in tamoxifen-treated postmenopausal patients with endometrial thickness > or = 5 mm with transvaginal ultrasonography.
Thirty-five tamoxifen-treated postmenopausal breast cancer patients underwent transvaginal pelvic ultrasonography with endometrial thickness > or = 5 mm followed by either curettage-hysteroscopy (n = 24), or hysterectomy (n = 11). Endometrial histopathologic findings were examined.
Overall, endometrial polyps were the most common histopathologic finding (23 of 35 patients). Endometrial cystic atrophy was uncommonly detected in patients undergoing curettage-hysteroscopy (1 of 24 patients) compared with patients undergoing hysterectomy (9 of 11 patients). No cases of endometrial cancer or hyperplasia were detected.
Endometrial polyps were a frequent finding in tamoxifen-treated postmenopausal women who had endometrial thickness > or = 5 mm with the use of transvaginal ultrasonography. Endometrial cystic atrophy may explain "thickened endometrium" on transvaginal ultrasonography in this patient population with no evidence of endometrial polyps, hyperplasia, or adenocarcinoma after surgical evaluation.

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    • "Regardless of their location, the cysts seen in women treated with tamoxifen do not appear to be premalignant [43] . "
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    ABSTRACT: Tamoxifen is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that is widely used in the treatment of patients with breast cancer and for chemoprophylaxis in high risk women. Tamoxifen results in a spectrum of abnormalities involving the genital tract, the most significant being an increased incidence of endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma. This article reviews the effects of tamoxifen on the genital tract and the strengths and weaknesses of various imaging modalities for evaluating the endometrium.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2008 · Cancer Imaging
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    • "This has been detected also in some previous studies ( Cohen et al , 1993 ; Touraine et al , 1995 ; Ismail , 1996 ) . Thus , endometrial thickening is probably a result of the enlargement of subendometrial glands ( Goldstein , 1994 ; Neven , 1995 ; McGonigle et al , 1998 ) and is no indication for endometrial biopsy . "
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    ABSTRACT: To assess and compare the gynaecological consequences of the use of 2 antioestrogens we examined 167 postmenopausal breast cancer patients before and during the use of either tamoxifen (20 mg/day, n = 84) or toremifene (40 mg/day, n = 83) as an adjuvant treatment of stage II-III breast cancer. Detailed interview concerning menopausal symptoms, pelvic examination including transvaginal sonography (TVS) and collection of endometrial sample were performed at baseline and at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months of treatment. In a subgroup of 30 women (15 using tamoxifen and 15 toremifene) pulsatility index (PI) in an uterine artery was measured before and at 6 and 12 months of treatment. The mean (+/-SD) follow-up time was 2.3 +/- 0.8 years. 35% of the patients complained of vasomotor symptoms before the start of the trial. This rate increased to 60.0% during the first year of the trial, being similar among patients using tamoxifen (57.1%) and toremifene (62.7%). Vaginal dryness, which was present in 6.0% at baseline, increased during the use of tamoxifen (26.2%) and toremifene (24.1%). Endometrial thickness increased from baseline (3.9 +/- 2.7 mm) to 6.8 +/- 4.2 mm at 6 months (P< 0.001), and no difference emerged between the 2 regimens in this regard. Before the start of the antioestrogen regimen, the endometrium was atrophic in 71 (75.5%) and proliferative in 19 of 94 (20.2%) samples; 4 patients had benign endometrial polyps. During the use of antioestrogen altogether 339 endometrial samples were taken (159 in tamoxifen group, 180 in toremifene group). The endometrium was proliferative more often in the tamoxifen group (47.8%) than in the toremifene group (32.2%) (P< 0.0001). 20 patients had a total of 24 polyps (17 in tamoxifen and 9 in toremifene group, P< 0.05) during the use of antioestrogens. One patient in the toremifene group developed endometrial adenocarcinoma at 12 months, and one patient had breast cancer metastasis on the endometrium. Tamoxifen failed to affect the PI in the uterine artery, but toremifene reduced it by 15.0% (P< 0.05) by 12 months. In conclusion, tamoxifen and toremifene cause similarly vasomotor and vaginal symptoms. Neither regimen led to the development of premalignant endometrial changes. Our data suggest that so close endometrial surveillance as used in our study may not be mandatory during the first 3 years of use of antioestrogen treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2001 · British Journal of Cancer
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    • "The histological counterpart of the white, but hypervascularized , endometrial mucosa observed by hysteroscopy is a flattened or cuboidal epithelium overlying fibrous and condensed stroma containing cystic dilated endometrial glands. This is a description that some investigators consider similar to the senile cystic atrophia commonly seen in post-menopausal untreated women (Neven et al., 1998a,b; McGonigle et al., 1998; Mourits et al., 1999), but the glandular crowding plus the frequent proliferative activity of both epithelial and stromal cells has also been read as a form of endometrial hyperplasia (Ismail, 1994, 1998). The senile cystic endometrial atrophia is not, however, a universal endometrial pattern in women treated with tamoxifen. "
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    ABSTRACT: The ideal selective oestrogen receptor modulator (SERM) would retain an oestrogen-like effect on the bones, the heart and cardiovascular apparatus, and the central nervous system, while acting as an anti-oestrogen on the breast and the genital tract. It seems, however, that such a compound is not available for clinical use yet. The uterine tissue, and particularly the endometrium, defines an area of special interest in the SERM action, since endometrial hyperplasia and cancer has been linked to agonistic oestrogen effects. Additionally, tamoxifen, the SERM which accumulates most of the clinical experience, has been associated with stimulatory effects on endometrium, including the development of cancer. In contrast, the more recent benzothiophenes, led by raloxifene, seem to operate as endometrial antagonists, thus providing an interesting alternative for clinical use. This review analyses the endometrial action of tamoxifen, including the information gathered from laboratory models, the observed endometrial effects in women using tamoxifen, and the epidemiological and molecular data which link the use of tamoxifen with endometrial cancer. A parallel examination of the raloxifene data presents the available experimental and clinical information, suggesting the endometrial neutrality of this compound.
    Preview · Article · May 2000 · Human Reproduction Update
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