Background: Endometriosis is one of the most common benign gynecological diseases with an occurrence approximately 10% in reproductive age. Endometriosis has been proposed as a possible precursor of certain ovarian carcinomas such as clear cell and endometrioid ovarian carcinomas. In addition to this pathogenic link, the association with other gynecological tumors and breast cancer has been studied on an epidemiological basis in several studies.
Objective: The aim of this review was to critically present the recent published evidence on the association of endometriosis with gynecological cancer, and with a special emphasis on ovarian cancer.
Materials and methods: A search for eligible studies was conducted in three electronic databases, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL, for original research in humans published in any language.
Results: The present review includes studies examining the association between endometriosis and different types of gynecological cancer (i.e., 25 studies on ovarian cancer, 8 studies on breast cancer, 8 studies on endometrial cancer and 2 studies on cervical cancer).
Conclusion: The present literature supports the pre-existing evidence suggesting an association between ovarian cancer and endometriosis and specifically its two histologic subtypes (endometrioid and ovarian clear cell cancer). The most recent population-based epidemiological studies cannot provide a clear association between endometriosis and endometrial, cervical or breast cancer.