Am J Cancer Res. 2020 Oct 1;10(10):3061-3082. eCollection 2020.
Endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, is the most common gynaecological malignancy with burgeoning incidence and mortality rates globally. Racial disparity, socioeconomic and geographical differences are important determinants of endometrial cancer incidence and mortality. Endometrial cancer is mainly categorised as type I and type II. Although less prevalent, type II is the most aggressive form of the disease and typically diagnosed at a late stage, contributing to higher mortality. Black women are at higher risk of developing aggressive, type II disease. Type I tumours are related to higher levels of circulating estrogen with lower-grade tumours that have a good prognosis and frequently related to PTEN mutations. In comparison, type II tumours are estrogen-independent, typically have poor prognosis and associated with the p53, HER2, PPP2R1A, FBXW7 and PIK3R1 mutations. The risk of developing type II malignancy is higher in women with Lynch syndrome as a result of mutations in the MMR gene family. Genetic modifications contribute to aberrant alternative splicing events that are related to tumour development, progression and resistance to therapy. Alternative splicing events are rapidly emerging as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Type II endometrial cancer lacks targeted therapy and biomarkers for novel therapeutic strategies. Recent advances have illustrated a number of molecular targets that are currently explored for the treatment of advanced, late-stage endometrial cancer. The aim of this review is to outline 1) the epidemiology of type II endometrial cancer in black women, 2) discuss the correlated risk factors that contribute to the development of type II endometrial cancer and 3) the associated molecular mechanisms and genetic factors underlying the disease, and 4) aberrant splicing events and biomarkers with therapeutic potential as novel drug targets.