How Often Does Adenomyosis Turn Into Cancer?

Adenomyosis rarely turns into cancer, but it increases the risk of developing certain gynecologic cancers like endometrial and uterine cancer. How often does adenomyosis turn into cancer?

Adenomyosis is a common women’s health problem. It means the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle layer. While it’s not rare, turning into cancer almost never happens. Less than 1% of cases get to that point.1 If it does, the main cancer it can turn into is endometrial cancer. But ovarian and other gynecological cancers are also possible.1

The chance that a woman with adenomyosis will get cancer is very low. Scientists are still studying why this happens sometimes. They think it might have to do with genetic mutations, hormonal problems, inflammation, and stress on cells.2

Diagnosing and treating adenomyosis cancer is tough. Doctors and researchers are working to understand it better. They want to find the best ways to deal with it. Adenomyosis turning into cancer is a rare event.1

Key Takeaways

  • Adenomyosis is pretty common but rarely becomes cancer, less than 1% of the time.
  • It could turn into endometrial, ovarian, or other gynecological cancers.
  • Experts aren’t sure why this happens, but think genes, hormones, and stress on tissues play a part.
  • It’s hard to diagnose and treat adenomyosis cancer, so more research is needed.
  • Finding it early and using different treatments can help some people live longer.

Introduction to Adenomyosis

Definition and Prevalence

Adenomyosis is when the endometrial tissue grows into the uterus’s muscle. It affects many, from 5% to 70% of women in their childbearing years. Often, it’s found with endometriosis and uterine fibroids.1

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Women with adenomyosis can have severe periods, pain, and heavy bleeding. Yet, some might not show any signs.1 Factors like not having kids, older age, earlier uterine operations, and family history play a role. It’s more common as women near menopause.1

Adenomyosis and Cancer Risk

Adenomyosis often shows up with endometrial cancer. Studies say up to 28% of people with adenomyosis get endometrial cancer.3

The risk goes up mainly for the endometrioid subtype. We don’t fully know why, but it’s probably due to shared genes and hormones. Plus, there’s inflammation and tissue changes from adenomyosis.3

Ovarian Cancer Risk

Adenomyosis can also raise the risk of ovarian cancer. This is more for the specific endometrioid and clear cell types.3

The reason may be how adenomyosis and endometriosis lead to certain ovarian cancers. They share a lot in their causes.3

Other Gynecological Cancers

The link between adenomyosis and endometrial and ovarian cancer is known. But the connection to other cancers like cervical, vaginal, and vulvar is still a puzzle.3

Some studies hint at a possible tie. Yet, we need more research to really get it.3

How Often Does Adenomyosis Turn Into Cancer?

Rare Occurrence of Malignant Transformation

The chance of adenomyosis turning into cancer is very low, less than 1%.1 So, most women with adenomyosis won’t get cancer from it. Instead, they are at a slightly higher risk of gynecological cancers like endometrial and ovarian cancer.

Factors Influencing Malignant Potential

We don’t fully understand what causes adenomyosis to become cancer. But, some things that might make it more likely include genetic changes, long-lasting inflammation, hormone issues, and what you’re exposed to in your surroundings.1 Being older and having certain types of cells in the adenomyotic tissue can also raise the risk of cancer.

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Pathogenesis of Malignant Transformation

The change from adenomyosis to cancer is still not fully understood. But, experts know that changes in certain genes and molecules might be key.2 These changes mess up how cells usually work, making them grow and spread wrongly.

Genetic Mutations and Alterations

Long-term inflammation and stress seem to be big reasons for the change to cancer. Lots of some chemicals and damage markers are found in these areas.2 All this can make cells more likely to turn into cancer cells.

Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Estrogen and progesterone, female hormones, are very important in adenomyosis turning into cancer. Problems with these hormones, and the work of growth factors, help change cells.2 This can make these cells grow quickly, spread, and turn into cancer.

Role of Hormones and Growth Factors

Diagnosis and Evaluation

Doctors use imaging tools like ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans for checking adenomyosis. These methods show doctors if adenomyosis is in the uterus and how big it is. They also look for things that might mean the adenomyosis has turned into cancer.

Imaging Techniques

MRI is great for looking at the uterus, but we’re not sure if it’s best for finding EC-AIA. Transvaginal ultrasound, though, is really good at spotting gynecological issues, including adenomyosis. It’s 83.8% sure it’s there and 63.9% sure it’s something else.4

Biomarkers and Tumor Markers

Using blood tests can also help find adenomyosis and if it’s turning cancerous. High levels of CA-125, CA 19-9, and other markers might show adenomyosis is there. But these signs for cancer haven’t been confirmed yet.

Figuring out if adenomyosis has led to cancer can be hard. Doctors might need a lot of tests, and even then, it’s tough to be sure. There’s a special way of checking called ‘pathological diagnostic criteria’. It looks for certain signs to say if it’s really cancer or not.5

Clinical Presentation and Staging

When adenomyosis turns into cancer, it might seem like the non-cancerous kind. You could have heavy periods, pain, and find it hard to get pregnant.1 But, if you also have odd vaginal bleeding, a lump in your pelvis, or your belly grows fast, it might be a sign of cancer.

Symptoms of Malignant Adenomyosis

Finding out how bad cancer is in adenomyosis cases is tough. This is because the extra tissue is deep inside the uterus muscle.2 It might spread through the tube, the lymph system, or to the belly, which makes managing it even harder.

Challenges in Staging and Metastasis

Finding the right stage of adenomyosis cancer is hard. The extra tissue hides deep in the uterus.2 It can spread in different ways, like through tubes or lymph nodes, or to the belly. This makes it tough to treat.

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Treatment Options

The main way to treat malignant adenomyosis is through surgery. This often means removing the uterus, sometimes with the tubes and ovaries.2 The surgery could be bigger depending on the cancer’s type and how far it has spread. Doctors might also check and possibly remove lymph nodes. They choose the best surgery type based on what’s safest and most effective for the patient.

If needed, other treatments like radiation, chemo, or hormone therapy can help after surgery.2 These extra treatments aim to lower the chance of the cancer coming back and to make sure the patient does well. A team of doctors will decide on the best plan for each person.

Prognosis and Survival Outcomes

The outlook and survival for patients with adenomyosis turning malignant is usually poor. These cases are very uncommon and often found late.2 There’s not much data, but it seems it might be harder to treat than regular endometrial cancer. This is because it’s tough to catch early and might grow faster.6 Yet, if treated with many methods early, some people do better.

Prognostic FactorFindingsSource
Adenomyosis involvement in endometrial adenocarcinomaSignificant risk factor for deep myometrial invasion, with an impact on prognosis6
Presence of adenomyosis and lymphovascular space invasionMay affect lymph node status in patients with endometrioid adenocarcinoma of the endometrium6
Malignant changes in adenomyosisObserved in patients with endometrioid adenocarcinoma, indicating a potential progression to cancer6
Coexistent adenomyosisInfluences the outcomes of patients with endometrioid endometrial cancer, as seen in propensity score-matched analyses6
AdenomyosisHas an impact on the prognosis of patients with endometrial cancer, pointing towards a potential link between the two conditions6
Endometrial cancer arising in adenomyosis and endometrial cancer coexisting with adenomyosisMay represent distinct entities with varying implications on prognosis6
Thrombocytosis before surgery in endometrial cancer patientsRelated to tumor stage and grade, suggesting a potential prognostic marker6
Estrogen and progesterone receptor expression in endometrial cancer patientsCorrelates with disease-free survival, indicating a potential prognostic value6

Patients with adenomyosis might have cancer that spreads differently in the uterus.6 Doctors look at how cancer cells move in and around the uterus.6 In Germany, endometrial cancer patients’ chances of survival in the 2000s varied by age, cancer type, and how far the disease had spread.6

Risk Factors and Prevention

Age and Hormonal Factors

Getting older and having certain hormone issues can make adenomyosis more likely. This is even more true for women after menopause. If you’ve used hormone therapy, your risk might be higher.7

Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Being obese, having diabetes, and contact with some chemicals could raise your adenomyosis risk.7 We don’t know exactly how these things might contribute to adenomyosis becoming cancerous. A good rule is to stay healthy and avoid stuff that could be risky. But, we still need to learn a lot more about this.

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Future Research Directions

Scientists are working hard to understand how adenomyosis turns into cancer.2 They want to find things that can tell us if cancer might happen early. This would help in finding better ways to treat it.

Molecular Studies and Biomarkers

Research is making us more aware of how malignant adenomyosis starts.2 This helps in creating treatments that focus on specific genes or ways cells talk to each other. These new treatments could make things better for people with this rare sickness.

Targeted Therapies

Scientists are looking into how genes, hormones, and inflammation might make adenomyosis turn cancerous.2 Knowing more about these processes might help make new ways to find and treat the disease. This could improve the life of patients.

Also, new tech like next-gen sequencing and better imaging can show us more about the cancer’s nature and where it is.2 This might lead to finding new targets for treatments. By using these tools, doctors can do a better job at looking after patients with adenomyosis cancer.


Adenomyosis is common but rarely turns into cancer, happening in less than 1% of cases.3 It can raise the risk of certain cancers, like those of the endometrium and ovaries. But, it almost never changes into a malignant tumor itself.3 We still don’t fully know why this transformation happens. The way we deal with these cases is also a big challenge.8,2 More studies are necessary to understand this condition better. This will help improve how we diagnose and treat it. It could also help make the outlook better for patients.


How often does adenomyosis turn into cancer?

Turning into cancer is very rare for adenomyosis. Studies have shown it’s less than 1%.

What is the risk of cancer with adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis can increase the risk of some cancers. Yet, it turning into a tumor is very rare.

Can adenomyosis lead to uterine cancer?

It often shows up with endometrial cancer. About 28% of cases have both. Having adenomyosis may up the risk of endometrial cancer, especially one type.

Does adenomyosis increase the risk of ovarian cancer?

Yes, it’s linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer too. Especially two types. The link is through shared origins and pathways of the diseases.

Can adenomyosis turn into gynecologic cancers?

It does connect to some cancers like those in the uterus and ovaries. But, its link to other gynecologic cancers isn’t fully clear. There might be a link, but we need more research.

Does adenomyosis require a hysterectomy?

For cancer from adenomyosis, surgery is often needed. A hysterectomy with or without removing the tubes and ovaries may help. The surgery’s type depends on the cancer stage and type.

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