• bcl-2;
  • apoptosis;
  • endometrial carcinoma;
  • endometrial hyperplasia


The bcl-2 proto-oncogene, which inhibits programmed cell death (apoptosis), has recently been found to be cyclically expressed in human endometrium. In order to investigate its role in endometrial hyperlasia and neoplasia, bcl-2 expression was studied in 25 cases of endometrial carcinoma and 20 cases of endometrial hyperplasia (eight simple, two complex, and ten atypical hyperplasias). Uniform intense cytoplasmic bcl-2 expression was found in all cases of non-atypical hyperplasia, and less strong positivity in eight out of ten cases of atypical hyperplasia. In well-differentiated carcinomas, nine out of ten showed weak to moderate bcl-2 expression, whereas six out of seven poorly differentiated carcinomas were bcl-2-negative. Moderately differentiated tumours were an intermediate group, with six out of eight being positive. Widespread localization of bcl-2 protein to the chromosomes of dividing cells was also demonstrated, regardless of cytoplasmic bcl-2 expression, with rare staining of interphase nuclei. Our findings suggest a role for bcl-2 in the natural history of endometrial neoplasia and studies are needed to determine its usefulness as a prognostic marker. The finding of bcl-2 localization to chromosomes has important implications for its mode and site of action.