Heritability and molecular genetic studies of endometriosis Article

Bischoff, FZ, Simpson, JL. (2000). Heritability and molecular genetic studies of endometriosis . 6(1), 37-44. 10.1093/humupd/6.1.37

cited authors

  • Bischoff, FZ; Simpson, JL

fiu authors


  • Endometriosis is a common disease defined as the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity that often results in a vast array of gynaecological problems including dyspareunia, dysmenorrhoea, pelvic pain and infertility. Despite the increasing evidence that supports a genetic component to this common gynaecological condition, the basic aetiology and pathogenesis of endometriosis remain unknown. It is likely that endometriosis is a common polygenic/multifactorial disease caused by an interaction between multiple genes as well as the environment. Such conditions do not have a clear Mendelian pattern of inheritance. Recent molecular cytogenetic studies on endometriotic tissue and an established endometriosis-derived cell line provide novel evidence that acquired chromosome-specific alterations may be involved in endometriosis, possibly reflecting clonal expansion of chromosomally abnormal cells. Molecular DNA studies examining the role of loss of heterozygosity in endometriotic lesions has identified candidate tumour suppressor gene loci, including 5q, 6q, 9p, 11q and 22q, that may play a role in the malignant transformation of endometriotic implants to endometrioid ovarian cancers. Evidence of mutations in the tumour suppressor PTEN gene in the endometrioid subtype of epithelial ovarian cancer further suggests that somatic genetic alterations represent early events in the transformation of benign endometriotic cells. Genetic factors are also likely to influence individual susceptibility to endometriosis. There is now evidence that heritable allelic differences in drug-metabolizing enzymes play an important role in the development of endometriosis. Further studies are warranted to identify major susceptibility gene(s) and the mechanism involved in endometriosis to assist in the development of better methods for early detection, diagnosis and prevention.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 37

end page

  • 44


  • 6


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