Association of endometriosis and breast cancer: mini review of the literature

Foteini Anifantaki, Ioannis Boutas, Theodoros Kalampokas, Emmanouil Kalampokas, Chrisostomos Sofoudis, Nikolaos Salakos

Background Endometriosis is a common, estrogen-dependent, gynecological disease, which is defined as the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. Current data have associated endometriosis with specific malignancies, including ovarian and breast cancer. Purpose The purpose of our study is to summarize and present published literature providing evidence regarding the possible relationship between endometriosis and breast cancer. Methods Pubmed and Scopus databases were searched systematically for studies that sought to identify a potential association of endometriosis and breast cancer. 15 relevant articles were retrieved and included in the present review. Results A small number of observational studies have shown a correlation of endometriosis and breast cancer. Other studies found that the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The scenario of an early interruption of the inflammatory process, derived from endometriosis, by oophorectomy and a possible consequent decrease in the risk of breast cancer has also been proposed. The hypothesis that both conditions could be related through common mutations on BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes has also been investigated. Conclusion The available published evidence is inconclusive. Further studies are needed to evaluate the association of endometriosis and breast cancer and the possible pathogenetic pathways that relate the two disorders.

Keywords: Endometriosis  Breast cancer  Breast neoplasm  Breast malignancies

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