• By Dana Sparks

Women’s Wellness: Vaginal microbes and endometrial cancer

January 18, 2017

African-American woman in hospital bed listening to doctor

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. Endometrial cancer begins in the layer of cells that form the lining (endometrium) of the uterus. Other types of cancer can form in the uterus, including uterine sarcoma, but they are much less common than endometrial cancer.illustration of uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, endometrial cancer, gynecological surgery

January 5, 2017 news release - Endometrial cancer triggers remain elusive, despite continued research. But given the typical inflammatory profile in these cases, microbes in the uterine environment are suspected to play a role in the development of this disease.

To probe the microbes directly within the uterine environment and examine how these microbes could influence cancer within the endometrial lining, Mayo Clinic researchers have conducted the first direct assessment uterine microbiome study published in Genome Medicine.

“We set out to discover whether there is a microbiome component in the malignancy of tumors and if its appearance in patients diagnosed with the disease is distinguishable from that of patients without malignancy,” says Marina Walther-Antonio, Ph.D., lead author of the Mayo Clinic study.Illustration of vaginal microbes

As a result of the study, researchers now know that:

  • The uterine microbiome of women with endometrial cancer is different from the uterine microbiome of women without endometrial cancer.
  • The microbes present in the vaginal environment of women with endometrial cancer are also different from the microbes present in the vaginal environment of women without endometrial cancer.

Read the rest of the news release.

Read more about diagnosing endometrial cancer.

Mayo Clinic Q and A: Endometrial cancer — risk factors, screening, treatment

Watch: Tampon test for endometrial cancer.

Journalists: The broadcast-quality video (:59) is in the downloads.

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