The role of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in uterine fibroid pathogenesis


Purpose of review: Uterine leiomyoma (fibroids) is a gynecologic disorder impacting the majority of women in the United States. When symptomatic, these noncancerous tumors can cause severe morbidity including pelvic pain, menorrhagia, and infertility. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may represent a modifiable risk factor. The aim of this review is to summarize recent human and experimental evidence on EDCs exposures and fibroids.

Recent findings: Multiple EDCs are associated with fibroid outcomes and/or processes including phthalates, parabens, environmental phenols, alternate plasticizers, Diethylstilbestrol, organophosphate esters, and tributyltin. Epidemiologic studies suggest exposure to certain EDCs, such as di-(2-ethylhxyl)-phthalate (DEHP), are associated with increased fibroid risk and severity. Both human and experimental studies indicate that epigenetic processes may play an important role in linking EDCs to fibroid pathogenesis. In-vitro and in-vivo studies show that DEHP, bisphenol A, and diethylstilbestrol can impact biological pathways critical to fibroid pathogenesis.

Summary: While research on EDCs and fibroids is still evolving, recent evidence suggests EDC exposures may contribute to fibroid risk and progression. Further research is needed to examine the impacts of EDC mixtures and to identify critical biological pathways and windows of exposure. These results could open the door to new prevention strategies for fibroids.

Authors: Maria Victoria Bariani, Roshni Rangaswamy, Hiba Siblini, Qiwei Yang, Ayman Al-Hendy, Ami R Zota
; Full Source: Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity 2020 Oct 9. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000578.