Uterine CarcinosarcomaRSS

Last Updated: March 13, 2017

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What is uterine carcinosarcoma?

Uterine carcinosarcoma is a cancer that develops in the uterus. Carcinosarcoma signifies that, when looked at under a microscope, the tumor displays histological features of both endometrial carcinoma and sarcoma.1 Endometrial carcinoma starts in the endometrium, the inner layer of tissue lining the uterus, while sarcoma begins in the outer layer of muscle of the uterus.1

A rare cancer, uterine carcinosarcoma makes up less than five percent of all uterine cancers.2 In the U.S., about two per 100,000 women develop uterine carcinosarcoma annually.3 Roughly only 35 percent of patients survive five years after diagnosis.

View additional information on uterine carcinosarcoma.

Uterine carcinosarcoma is part of an effort to characterize rare tumor types. Read more about the Rare Tumor Projects.

The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers have:

  • Confirmed that uterine carcinosarcomas (UCSs) resemble both carcinomas (cancers derived from epithelial cells) and sarcomas (cancers derived from mesenchymal cells) on a molecular level
    • Uterine carcinosarcomas had the largest variation of EMT scores, a measure of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition that relates to the ability of cancers to metastasize, of all cancer types studied by TCGA
      • This highlights the intermediate nature of UCS between sarcomas and carcinomas
  • Identified altered genes that may be potential targets for therapy for women with UCS
    • Almost all (91%) of the UCS tumors studied contained mutations in TP53, the most commonly mutated gene in cancer
    • Half of the UCS tumors had altered genes in the PI3K pathway, which contains several different targets for drugs
    • More than a fifth of the UCS tumors studied contained altered genes that regulate the cell cycle, leading to a lack of control over cellular proliferation

See more about TCGA's study of uterine carcinosarcoma.

Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network's studies, or studies using TCGA data?

View a list of TCGA scientific publications.

Where can I find clinical trials to treat uterine carcinosarcoma that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?

View a list of NCI-supported uterine sarcoma clinical trials that are now accepting patients.

Selected References 

1 American Cancer Society. (2012) Endometrial (uterine) cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003048-pdf.pdf.

2 Galaal K, van der Heijden E, Godfrey K, Naik R, Kucukmetin A, Bryant A, Das N, Lopes AD. (2013) Adjuvant radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy after surgery for uterine carcinosarcoma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (2):CD006812. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006812.pub3.

3 Kernochan LE, Garcia RL. (2009) Carcinosarcomas (malignant mixed Müllerian tumor) of the uterus: advances in elucidation of biologic and clinical characteristics. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 7(5):550-556.