Endometriosis appears to be associated with a higher risk of benign gynecological tumors, including ovarian cysts, adenomyosis and leiomyomas, new research shows.
The study, “Co‑existence of benign gynecological tumors with endometriosis in a group of 1,000 women,” was published in the journal Oncology Letters.
Many patients with endometriosis tend to also develop benign gynecological tumors. In particular, ovarian cysts and uterine leiomyomas, which are noncancerous growths of muscle tissue in the uterus, are a major source of gynecological morbidity. These conditions are also some of the leading causes of hospitalization for gynecological conditions unrelated to pregnancy.
Another common disorder is adenomyosis, which is present in 69% to 79% of patients with endometriosis. Adenomyosis, which refers to the movement of endometrial tissue, is associated with a greater risk of endometrial hyperplasia (too much tissue), endometrial polyps, or endometrial cancer.
Researchers wanted to determine the relationship between endometriosis and the risk of benign gynecologic tumors. Therefore, they reviewed the medical and pathology reports of 1,000 women with endometriosis to identify the incidence of ovarian cysts, uterine leiomyomas, and adenomyosis.
Among the 1,000 patients, there were 295 cases of endometriomas, 172 cases of adenomyosis, 173 cases of ovarian cysts, and 89 cases of uterine leiomyomas.
A breakdown of the types of cysts demonstrated that serous cysts were the most frequent, representing 46.8% of the 173 women with ovarian cysts in these patients and 8.1% of all patients with endometriosis in this study. Dermoid cysts were the second most common, representing 8.6% of women with ovarian cysts and 1.2% of all patients.
Researchers then wanted to determine the distribution of endometriomas in women with endometriosis. An endometrioma is a type of ovarian cyst that develops when endometrial tissue grows in the ovaries.
In women with a single endometrioma, results showed that cysts tended to form on the left side in 65.6% of patients, which was significantly higher than patients who had cysts on the right side at 34.4%. Interestingly, ovarian cysts also tended to form on the left side in 60% of patients compared to 40% on the right side. This finding confirmed previous studies that have shown a preference for the formation of cysts and endometriomas on the left side.
“The present study demonstrates that endometriosis is linked with an increased risk of benign gynecological tumors, such as ovarian cysts, adenomyosis and uterine leiomyomas,” the researchers concluded.
The authors suggest this may be due to some genetic factors that may predispose patients to multiple conditions such as both endometriosis and adenomysosis.
They note that there needs to be additional research into the reasons for the association between endometriosis and benign gynecological tumors.