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Obstetrics and Gynecology International
Volume 2010, Article ID 486164, 5 pages
Review Article

The LH/hCG Axis in Endometrial Cancer: A New Target in the Treatment of Recurrent or Metastatic Disease

1Department of Experimental Pathology and Oncology, Unversity of Florence, Viale GB Morgagni, 50, 50134 Firenze, Italy
2Department of Gynaecology, Perinatology and Human Reproduction, University of Florence, Viale GB Morgagni, 85, 50134 Firenze, Italy

Received 26 November 2009; Revised 26 May 2010; Accepted 16 June 2010

Academic Editor: Paul J. Hoskins

Copyright © 2010 A. Arcangeli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Endometrial cancer (EC) is a hormone-dependent cancer that currently represents the most frequent malignancy of the female reproductive tract. The involvement of steroid hormones in EC etiology and progression has been reported. More recently, gonadotropins, and, in particular LH/hCG, are emerging as novel regulators of tumor progression. In the present review, we discuss the role of the LH/hCG axis (i.e. LH/hCG and its receptors, LH/hCG-R) in both gonadal and nongonadal tissues, in physiological and neoplastic conditions. In cancer cells, LH/hCG mainly controls cell proliferation and apoptosis. In particular, in EC LH/hCG improves cell invasiveness, through a mechanism which involves the LH/hCG-R, which in turn activate protein kinase A and modulate integrin adhesion receptors. Indeed, the LH/hCG-R mRNA is expressed in primary ECs and this expression correlates with LH/hCG-induced cell invasiveness in vitro. These results lead to hypothesize that recurrent and metastatic ECs, which express LH/hCG-R, could benefit from therapies aimed at decreasing LH levels, through Gn-RH analogues. Hence, the LH/hCG axis could represent a prognostic factor and a new therapeutic target in EC.