Proceedings from the third national institutes of health international congress on advances in uterine leiomyoma research: Comprehensive review, conference summary and future recommendations

James H. Segars, Estella C. Parrott, Joan D. Nagel, Xiaoxiao Catherine Guo, Xiaohua Gao, Linda S. Birnbaum, Vivian W. Pinn, Darlene Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Background: Uterine fibroids are the most common gynecologic tumors in women of reproductive age yet the etiology and pathogenesis of these lesions remain poorly understood. Age, African ancestry, nulliparity and obesity have been identified as predisposing factors for uterine fibroids. Symptomatic tumors can cause excessive uterine bleeding, bladder dysfunction and pelvic pain, as well as associated reproductive disorders such as infertility, miscarriage and other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Currently, there are limited noninvasive therapies for fibroids and no early intervention or prevention strategies are readily available. This review summarizes the advances in basic, applied and translational uterine fibroid research, in addition to current and proposed approaches to clinical management as presented at the 'Advances in Uterine Leiomyoma Research: 3rd NIH International Congress'. Congress recommendations and a review of the fibroid literature are also reported. Methods: This review is a report of meeting proceedings, the resulting recommendations and a literature review of the subject. Results: The research data presented highlights the complexity of uterine fibroids and the convergence of ethnicity, race, genetics, epigenetics and environmental factors, including lifestyle and possible socioeconomic parameters on disease manifestation. The data presented suggest it is likely that the majority of women with uterine fibroids will have normal pregnancy outcomes; however, additional research is warranted. As an alternative to surgery, an effective long-term medical treatment for uterine fibroids should reduce heavy uterine bleeding and fibroid/uterine volume without excessive side effects. This goal has not been achieved and current treatments reduce symptoms only temporarily; however, a multi-disciplined approach to understanding the molecular origins and pathogenesis of uterine fibroids, as presented in this report, makes our quest for identifying novel targets for noninvasive, possibly nonsystemic and effective long-term treatment very promising. Conclusions: The Congress facilitated the exchange of scientific information among members of the uterine leiomyoma research and health-care communities. While advances in research have deepened our knowledge of the pathobiology of fibroids, their etiology still remains incompletely understood. Further needs exist for determination of risk factors and initiation of preventive measures for fibroids, in addition to continued development of new medical and minimally invasive options for treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdmt058
Pages (from-to)309-333
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic research
  • Clinical treatment
  • Conference recommendations
  • Fibroids
  • NIH conference summary and comprehensive review
  • Uterine leiomyoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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