Molecular pathology of endometrial cancer: Recent research has improved our understanding of how changes in certain molecules can cause normal endometrial cells to become cancerous. It has been known for several years that mutations (damage or defects) to DNA can alter important genes that regulate cell growth. If these genes are damaged, excess growth may result in cancer formation. Sometimes, endometrial cancer and colon cancer may seem to "run in a family." We now know that some of these families have a higher risk for these cancers because their members have inherited a defect in certain genes that normally help repair damage to DNA. Molecular analysis of endometrial cancer may provide a new avenue for detection, prevention, or new therapeutic strategies.
Tumor markers: Molecules released by cancer cells can help detect recurrence of some types of cancer. Recent studies find that certain blood tests may also be helpful in detecting recurrent endometrial cancer, before tumor deposits are visible by imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT scans) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.