Role of Genetic Factors in Fibroid Formation
Estrogen, progesterone, and growth factors are likely promote fibroid growth, but their roles seem to be only after the initiation of tumor formation.
The initiating event remains unknown, although recent evidence suggests that, there is a strong inherited component to fibroid development:
- Fibroids are at least twice as common in black women than in white women. Although racial differences in socioeconomic status and access to health care may contribute to this finding, these factors do not completely explain the discrepancy.
- There is a genetic predisposition for hysterectomy; this operation is two fold higher in identical versus fraternal twins.
- There exists a rare heritable form of uterine fibroids in association with fibroids of the skin called Reed's syndrome.
- Women with a family history of fibroids are twice as likely to develop fibroids than women with no family history.
- Women whose close female relatives have fibroids are more likely to develop symptoms.
Recently, mutations in two genes have been identified, that appear to be important in the development of some fibroids.
Normally, these genes code for proteins that help control cell growth by indirectly regulating DNA transcription.
However, mutations in these genes are probably secondary changes in already genetically susceptible cells.
Therefore, it is likely that other gene(s) crucial for fibroid development exist that have not yet been identified.