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New Help for Endometriosis

Aromatase inhibitor, used against breast cancer, may help treat painful condition

FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The aromatase inhibitor letrozole, currently used to prevent recurrence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, may prove effective in treating endometriosis.

That's according to a small study in the February issue of Fertility and Sterility.

The Northwestern Memorial Hospital study included 10 women with moderate to severe endometriosis. They had all received drug and surgical treatment, with poor results. In the study, all the women took letrozole, along with progestin, for six months. By the end of the study, the endometriosis had either disappeared or was greatly reduced.

The study also found that nine of the 10 women had a significant reduction in endometriosis-related pain.

"This study demonstrates the potential of aromatase inhibitors to significantly and rapidly reduce disease severity and pain, offering women a new and more effective way of suppressing endometriosis with fewer side effects," study author Dr. Serdar Bulun, chief of Northwestern's division of reproductive biology research, says in a prepared statement.

"Endometriosis is caused when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body and affects about 10 to 15 percent of women of reproductive age. It causes chronic pelvic pain and contributes to infertility," Bulun says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about endometriosis.

SOURCE: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, news release, Feb. 13, 2004
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