PROgesterone Therapy for Endometrial Cancer protection in obese women (PROTEC) trial: a feasibility study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Abigail Derbyshire
  • Jennifer Allen
  • Bhavna Lakhiani
  • James Bolton
  • Joseph Shaw
  • Philip W Pemberton
  • Michelle Needham
  • Michelle MacKintosh
  • Henry Kitchener


Obesity is the major aetiological driver for endometrial cancer. The levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) reduces the risk of endometrial cancer and its precursor, atypical hyperplasia. We assessed feasibility and uptake of the LNG-IUS for primary prevention of endometrial cancer in high-risk women and its impact on endometrial tissue biomarkers. Women with class-III obesity (BMI>40kg/m2) and histologically normal endometrium were invited to participate in a clinical trial of the LNG-IUS for endometrial protection. Recruitment, successful LNG-IUS insertion and adherence to trial procedures were recorded. We measured impact of the LNG-IUS on circulating biomarkers of endometrial cancer risk, endometrial proliferation (Ki-67, pAKT, PTEN), endometrial hormone receptor status (ER, PR), mental wellbeing and menstrual function. At six months, women chose to keep their LNG-IUS or have it removed. In total, 103 women were approached, 54 were offered a participant information sheet, 35 agreed to participate and 25 received a LNG-IUS. Their median age and BMI were 54 years (IQR 52,57) and 47kg/m2 (IQR 44,51) respectively. Three women (3/35, 9%) were ineligible due to atypical hyperplasia/endometrial cancer on their baseline biopsy. The LNG-IUS was well tolerated and had a positive overall effect on bleeding patterns and mental wellbeing. The LNG-IUS was associated with endometrial morphological change, reduced Ki-67 and PR expression but circulating biomarkers of endometrial cancer risk were unchanged. All but one woman (96%) kept her LNG-IUS. The LNG-IUS appears to be acceptable to some women with class-III obesity for primary prevention of endometrial cancer, which could provide a strategy for a prevention trial.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Sep 2020