A signalling molecule important for fertility in women could also be involved in cancer of the uterus, a Melbourne researcher has found.
Associate Professor Eva Dimitriadis, from Prince Henry’s Institute, says her research shows the molecule, interleukin 11 (IL11), is one of the factors important for the successful attachment or implantation of the embryo in the uterus.
She says the focus of infertility research is often on the quality of the embryo but the attachment of the embryo to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is also important.
Dimitriadis says she decided to look at endometrial cancer because IL11 belongs to a family of molecules that are involved in cancer cell invasion.
She says endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system, yet there are no suitable screening tests and treatment options are limited.