Endometrioid Cancer Associated With Endometriosis: From the Seed and Soil Theory to Clinical Practice

Alberto Farolfi, Amelia Altavilla, Luca Morandi, Laura Capelli, Elisa Chiadini, Giovanna Prisinzano, Giorgia Gurioli, Marianna Molari, Daniele Calistri, Maria Pia Foschini, Ugo De Giorgi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endometriosis is a benign condition characterized by the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue. It is still debated whether endometriosis is a disease that can predispose to the pathogenesis of endometrial cancer outside the uterus. Deficiencies in mismatch repair (MMR) genes are a known risk factor for developing endometrioid cancer. Starting from two cases of patients with abnormal MMR endometrioid carcinoma of the uterus and synchronous endometrioid carcinoma in non-ovarian and ovarian endometriosis, we performed a somatic mutation profile and phylogenetic analysis of the lesions in order to identify if they were metastasis or primary de novo tumors. In the first case, we identified de novo activating mutations in PIK3CA and KRAS in endometrioid cancer lesions but not in endometriosis. Although the acquisition of a de novo mutation in ESR1 and a decrease in mutant allele fraction (MAF) from the endometrial tumor to the localizations in the endometriosis lesions, the clonal relationship was confirmed by the limited number of heteroplasmic mutations in D-loop mitochondrial DNA region. In the other case, the clonal behavior was demonstrated by the overlap of MAF at each site. Our data support the hypothesis of a retrograde dissemination of tumor cells, moving from the primary carcinoma in the endometrium to ectopic sites of endometriosis where localizations of tumor arise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number859510
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 10 2022


  • endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the endometrium
  • endometriosis
  • mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency
  • tumor dissemination
  • uterine carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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