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Endometrial Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Evidence of Benefit

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Endometrial sampling in women with uterine bleeding

In the setting of abnormal uterine bleeding, endometrial sampling has gained favor largely as an alternative to more invasive procedures such as fractional D&C. Several methods of biopsy exist (e.g., Pipelle, Tao Brush, and Uterine Explora Curette) to identify endometrial pathology. Although endometrial sampling has largely replaced D&C as the first choice in the evaluation of women with bleeding, issues of access to the endometrial cavity and sampling error limit the clinical significance of a negative result. In the Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination trial, 36% of biopsies had insufficient tissue for diagnosis.[12]

No studies have evaluated the use of endometrial sampling as routine screening in reducing endometrial cancer mortality.

Hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy is used in the office setting to directly visualize the uterine cavity. A group of researchers noted that hysteroscopy is not as useful in detecting endometrial cancer as biopsy or D&C.[13] It has not been evaluated as a screening tool.[14]

References:

  1. Burk JR, Lehman HF, Wolf FS: Inadequacy of papanicolaou smears in the detection of endometrial cancer. N Engl J Med 291 (4): 191-2, 1974.
  2. Pritchard KI: Screening for endometrial cancer: is it effective? Ann Intern Med 110 (3): 177-9, 1989.
  3. Eddy D: ACS report on the cancer-related health checkup. CA Cancer J Clin 30 (4): 193-240, 1980 Jul-Aug.
  4. Smith-Bindman R, Weiss E, Feldstein V: How thick is too thick? When endometrial thickness should prompt biopsy in postmenopausal women without vaginal bleeding. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 24 (5): 558-65, 2004.
  5. Smith-Bindman R, Kerlikowske K, Feldstein VA, et al.: Endovaginal ultrasound to exclude endometrial cancer and other endometrial abnormalities. JAMA 280 (17): 1510-7, 1998.
  6. Burke W, Petersen G, Lynch P, et al.: Recommendations for follow-up care of individuals with an inherited predisposition to cancer. I. Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer. Cancer Genetics Studies Consortium. JAMA 277 (11): 915-9, 1997.
  7. Gull B, Karlsson B, Milsom I, et al.: Can ultrasound replace dilation and curettage? A longitudinal evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding and transvaginal sonographic measurement of the endometrium as predictors of endometrial cancer. Am J Obstet Gynecol 188 (2): 401-8, 2003.
  8. Fleischer AC, Wheeler JE, Lindsay I, et al.: An assessment of the value of ultrasonographic screening for endometrial disease in postmenopausal women without symptoms. Am J Obstet Gynecol 184 (2): 70-5, 2001.
  9. Langer RD, Pierce JJ, O'Hanlan KA, et al.: Transvaginal ultrasonography compared with endometrial biopsy for the detection of endometrial disease. Postmenopausal Estrogen/Progestin Interventions Trial. N Engl J Med 337 (25): 1792-8, 1997.
  10. Archer DF, McIntyre-Seltman K, Wilborn WW Jr, et al.: Endometrial morphology in asymptomatic postmenopausal women. Am J Obstet Gynecol 165 (2): 317-20; discussion 320-2, 1991.
  11. Fung MF, Reid A, Faught W, et al.: Prospective longitudinal study of ultrasound screening for endometrial abnormalities in women with breast cancer receiving tamoxifen. Gynecol Oncol 91 (1): 154-9, 2003.
  12. Duffy S, Jackson TL, Lansdown M, et al.: The ATAC adjuvant breast cancer trial in postmenopausal women: baseline endometrial subprotocol data. BJOG 110 (12): 1099-106, 2003.
  13. Bradley WH, Boente MP, Brooker D, et al.: Hysteroscopy and cytology in endometrial cancer. Obstet Gynecol 104 (5 Pt 1): 1030-3, 2004.
  14. Gumus II, Keskin EA, Kiliç E, et al.: Diagnostic value of hysteroscopy and hysterosonography in endometrial abnormalities in asymptomatic postmenopausal women. Arch Gynecol Obstet 278 (3): 241-4, 2008.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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