Purpose of review
Uterine fibroids are the most common benign neoplasms of the female reproductive tract and one of the major public health concerns. Although most women with uterine fibroids are asymptomatic, over 30% of them will present with varying symptoms. This review focuses on the role of non-hormonal mediators and pathways in uterine fibroid biology. Furthermore, it provides data regarding the most recent findings in the field of compounds, which use those non-hormonal pathways in the medical therapy of uterine fibroids.
Complex signaling pathway alterations are crucial for uterine fibroid development. The topic of the pathophysiology of uterine fibroids focuses mostly on steroids and other hormones. However, other very important pathways exist, and some of them are independent of hormones. Some of the most important pathways, which are non-hormonal, but in some cases still hormone-depended, include growth factors, cytokines and inflammation, Smad proteins, wingless type/β-catenin and others.
Much more is known about hormonal than about non-hormonal signaling in uterine fibroids. Growth factors, early life exposure and inflammation are key factors in uterine fibroid biology. Numerous agents depend on those pathways and may find their place in the current and future therapy of uterine fibroids.