Racial and ethnic differences in the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of uterine leiomyoma

Williamh Catherino, Hebam Eltoukhi, Ayman Al-Hendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Uterine leiomyomas are the most common benign gynecologic condition. The prevalence is three times more common among women of African ethnicity. Disparity in this disease is evidenced by earlier age of onset, greater severity of symptoms, and different response to treatment. Although the pathogenesis of disease development is not completely known, growing evidence focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms in disease development and the influence of ethnicity. Variation in the expression levels or function of estrogen and progesterone receptors, polymorphism of genes involved in estrogen synthesis and/or metabolism (COMT, CYP17), retinoic acid nuclear receptors (retinoid acid receptor-α, retinoid X receptor-α), and aberrant expression of micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are some of the molecular mechanisms that may be involved. Nutritional factors, such as vitamin D deficiency, might also contribute to the higher incidence in dark skinned populations who are also commonly suffer from hypovitaminosis D. Culture and environmental difference might have a role in disease development. Further analysis and better understanding of these mechanisms will provide insight into the molecular basis of racial disparities in leiomyoma formation and will help to develop new innovations in leiomyoma treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-379
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Reproductive Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • African American
  • ethnicity
  • molecular
  • risk factor
  • uterine leiomyoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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