Uterine leiomyoma, commonly called fibroids, consist of abundant, altered extracellular matrix. Fibroids are benign monoclonal tumors believed to be of myometrial origin. They develop in women of reproductive age, a fact that led to the concept that their growth was predominantly driven by reproductive hormones. While the prevalence of fibroids in the United States is often quoted to be 35-50%, the prevalence is likely much higher. In fact, the group led by Baird recently reported that the cumulative incidence of fibroids by age 50 was 70% in US Caucasian women and approximately 80% in African-American women. Currently, one in every two women of reproductive age in the US has uterine fibroids, making the condition the most common disease of the female reproductive tract. Despite their remarkable prevalence, the etiology of fibroids remains unknown. Nonetheless, in the past decade there has been a significant increase in published scientific investigations of uterine fibroid biology, initiating factors, fibroid growth and development. In this chapter, we review what is known about the etiology of fibroids, their features, and pathophysiology.
- Extracellular matrix
- Myometrial hyperplasia
- Transforming growth factor beta 3
ASJC Scopus subject areas