Recent genomic studies have identified subtypes of uterine leiomyoma (LM) with distinctive genetic alterations. Here, we report the elucidation of the biological characteristics of the two most prevalent uterine leiomyoma subtypes, MED12-mutant (MED12-LM) and HMGA2-overexpressing (HMGA2-LM) uterine leiomyomas. Because each tumor carries only one genetic alteration, both subtypes are considered to be monoclonal. Approximately 90% of cells in HMGA2-uterine leiomyoma were smooth muscle cells (SMC) with HMGA2 overexpression. In contrast, MED12-LM consisted of similar numbers of SMC and non-SMC, which were mostly tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAF). Paradoxically, TAF carried no mutations in MED12, suggesting an interaction between SMC and TAF to coordinate their growth. The higher amount of extracellular matrix in MED12-LM than HMGA2-LM was partially due to the high concentration of collagen-producing TAF. SMC growth in a xenograft assay was driven by progesterone in both uterine leiomyoma subtypes. In contrast, TAF in MED12-LM proliferated in response to estradiol, whereas progesterone had no effect. The high concentration of estrogen-responsive TAF in MED12-LM explains the inconsistent discoveries between in vivo and in vitro studies on the mitogenic effect of estrogen and raises questions regarding the accuracy of previous studies utilizing MED12-LM cell culture. In addition, the differential effects of estradiol and progesterone on these uterine leiomyoma subtypes emphasize the importance of subtypes and genotypes in designing nonsurgical therapeutic strategies for uterine leiomyoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research