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Health Agencies Update
September 18, 2002

Genes and Uterine Fibroids

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JAMA. 2002;288(11):1342. doi:10.1001/jama.288.11.1342-JHA20009-4-1

Up to 70% of women develop uterine fibroids, benign tumors that can cause pain, excessive bleeding, and infertility. A study using genetic microarray technology has found 145 genes that are overexpressed or underexpressed in the uterus of women with fibroids, a step toward discovering a "master switch" gene that may regulate tumor growth. The study also hints that a woman's susceptibility to fibroids may be inherited from her father.

Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development examined some 12 000 genes in fibroid tissue and healthy uterine tissue from nine women who had undergone hysterectomy. In the fibroid tissue, they found 67 genes that were "turned on" more than normal and 78 genes that were "turned on" less than normal.