Bokhman Redux: Endometrial cancer "types" in the 21st century.

Suarez AA, Felix AS, Cohn DE
Gynecol Oncol 144 243-249 02/01/2017


In 1983 Jan V. Bokhman, M.D. published a landmark paper entitled "Two Pathogenetic Types of Endometrial Carcinoma" in which an enduring dualistic view of endometrial cancer was first proposed. "Type I" cancers are thought to represent estrogen driven mostly low grade endometrioid tumors strongly associated with obesity and other components of the metabolic syndrome. "Type II" cancers represent higher grade non-endometrioid tumors for which the latter associations are less significant. Basic tenets of this dichotomy including significant prognostic differences have been abundantly confirmed by later literature. The construct has in turn contributed a useful framework for decades of teaching and scientific advancement across disciplines. However, recent large epidemiologic studies indicate a more complex web of risk factors with obesity and hormones likely playing an important role across the entire endometrial cancer histologic and clinical spectrum. Moreover, high quality molecular data and refinements in pathologic classification challenge any simplistic classification of endometrial cancer. For example, the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) recently defined four clinically distinct endometrial cancer types based on their overall mutational burden, specific p53, POLE and PTEN mutations, microsatellite instability and histology. Additionally, new histologic categories with clear prognostic implications have been accepted and it is becoming evident from an epidemiologic point of view that metabolic factors may play an important role in endometrial cancer overall. While Bokhman's intuitive dualistic model remains relevant when working with large registries and databases lacking granular information; most other efforts should integrate clinical, pathological and molecular specifics into more nuanced classifications.

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