Correlation between steroid receptor expression and response to progestational therapy in patients with atypical endometrial hyperplasia or cancer

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Gynecol Oncol Rep


BACKGROUND: Conservative management of atypical endometrial hyperplasia (AEH) or endometrial cancer (EMCA) often relies on the treatment of synthetic progestins, which show varied success and response rates. We evaluate the correlation between steroid receptor expression and response to progestin therapy in patients with AEH and EMCA.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study collected data for patients with AEH or EMCA who had an endometrial sample after receiving conservative therapy utilizing either Megestrol acetate or Levonorgestrel Intrauterine device (IUD). Immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed on pre- and post- treatment biopsy samples to assess androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptor (ER), and progesterone receptor (PR) expression. IHC scores (1-12) were calculated based on staining intensity and percentage of positive cells.

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS: We identified 15 patients with AEH and EMCA between 2015 and 2023 with the majority of African American ethnicity (53 %). Fourteen patients (93 %) received Megestrol acetate, and 1 patient received Levonorgestrel IUD alone. Three patients ultimately underwent hysterectomy. Seven (46.6 %) endometrial samples had strong positivity for AR, PR and ER expression on pre-treatment biopsies, and only 3 (20 %) of them maintained strong positivity for the 3 receptors in the post-treatment. Patients who successfully responded to the treatment demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in IHC scores after the treatment compared to those who did not respond (p = 0.009).

CONCLUSION: Steroid receptor expression could be used as a possible biomarker for response to progestin therapy in patients undergoing conservative management for AEH and EMCA.

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