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IUDs May Help Treat Endometrial Cancer

Study Shows Intrauterine Device May Treat Women Who Want to Avoid Hysterectomy

Testing IUDs to Treat Cancer continued...

The patients were closely followed during and after treatment, with biopsies and pelvic ultrasounds performed every six months.

Over the course of follow-up, 19 of the 20 patients with AEH had an initial complete response to therapy, with four of these patients relapsing later. Eight of the 14 patients with endometrial cancer had an initial complete response to therapy with two of these patients relapsing. The average time to relapse was three years.

Patients who relapsed were treated with either hysterectomy or another course of IUD/GnRH and all were alive and free of disease at the time the study was published. Nine of the women gave birth following treatment.

The study appears today online in the Annals of Oncology.

Second Opinion

Gynecologic oncologist and pelvic surgeon Elizabeth A. Poynor, MD, of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital has used progesterone-releasing IUDs to treat older endometrial cancer patients who were not good candidates for surgery and could not tolerate oral hormone therapy.

She has not used the treatment in younger patients, but calls the latest study “promising” and says larger studies are warranted.

“We have used oral progestins as fertility-sparing treatments for about 20 years, and they are effective,” she tells WebMD. “But this is a promising way to deliver the hormone locally, which could certainly benefit some patients.”

Like Minig, she stressed the importance of careful and thorough evaluation of women being considered for the treatment by specialists in gynecologic oncology, including pathologists trained to identify gynecologic tumors.

‘This study included a very carefully selected group of patients,” she says. “Careful selection is important to make sure this treatment is used only in patients whose cancers have not spread.”

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