Clinical Review

The role of hysteroscopy in diagnosing endometrial cancer

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Amount of endometrial involvement. A few years later, Garuti and colleagues retrospectively related the hysteroscopic tumor features of known endometrial adenocarcinoma to stage, grade, and overall survival.4 In this system, they focused on classification of tumor morphology as nodular (bulging), polypoid (thin pedicles), or papillary (numerous dendritic projections), as well as whether the amount of abnormal tissue present was less than or more than half of the endometrium and if the lesion involved the cervix.

Several important findings associated with this system may improve visual diagnosis. First, hysteroscopic evaluation had a 100% negative predictive value for the cervical spread of disease (FIGURE 3, VIDEO 3). Second, the hysteroscopic morphologic tumor type did not relate to surgical stage or pathologic grade. Third, when less than half of the endometrium was involved, stage I disease was found (97%, 33 of 34). Last, when more than half of the endometrium was involved, advanced disease beyond stage I was found (9 of 26, 6 of whom had poorly differentiated disease).4

Video 3. Cervical spread of adenocarcinoma and visually directed biopsy

Vidyard Video

Structured pattern analysis. Recently, Dueholm and co-investigators published a prospective evaluation of women with postmenopausal bleeding and an endometrial thickness of 5 mm or greater.5 They used a structured system of visual pattern analysis during hysteroscopy that they termed the hysteroscopic cancer (HYCA) scoring system. The HYCA scoring system is based on surface outline (uneven, polypoid, and papillary projections), necrosis (cotton candy endometrium [FIGURE 4], whitish-grayish areas without vessels on the surface), and vessel pattern (tortuous S-shaped, loops, irregular caliber, irregular branching, and irregular distribution [FIGURE 5]). Structured pattern analysis predicted cancer with higher accuracy than subjective evaluation.5

Morphologic variables as indicators. In 2016, Ianieri and colleagues published a retrospective study on a risk scoring system for diagnosing endometrial hyperplasia and adenocarcinoma via hysteroscopy.6 They created a statistical risk model for development of the scoring system. A number of morphologic variables were prognostic indicators of atypical endometrial hyperplasia (AEH) and adenocarcinoma. These included widespread and irregular endometrial thickness, presence of multiple polyps with irregular aspects, dilated glandular orifices, irregular endometrial color (grey, white, or hyperemic), atypical vessels, crumbling of the endometrial neoplasms, and growth of cerebroid and arborescent aspects (VIDEO 4).

Video 4. Endometrial adenocarcinoma

Vidyard Video

The scoring system for endometrial adenocarcinoma correctly classified 42 of 44 cancers (sensitivity, 95.4%; specificity, 98.2%), and AEH had a sensitivity of 63.3% and a specificity of 90.4%.6 These investigators also showed a high negative predictive value of 99.5% for endometrial adenocarcinoma associated with a negative view at hysteroscopy. Similar to the Dueholm data, Ianieri and colleagues’ morphologic pattern analysis predicted cancer with high accuracy.

Glomerular pattern association. Su and colleagues also showed that pattern recognition could aid in the accurate hysteroscopic diagnosis of endometrial adenocarcinoma.7 They used the hysteroscopic presence of a glomerular pattern to predict the association with endometrial adenocarcinoma. A glomerular pattern was described as polypoid endometrium with a papillary-like feature, containing an abnormal neovascularization feature with “intertwined neovascular vessels covered by a thin layer of endometrial tissue” (FIGURE 6). The presence of a glomerular pattern indicated grade 2 or grade 3 disease in 25 of 26 women (96%; sensitivity, 84.6%, specificity, 81.8%)7 (see video 4).

TABLE 2 summarizes significant morphologic findings relating to the presences of endometrial carcinoma.

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