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Elizabeth Stewart, M.D. (OBG 2007) Leads Research on Uterine Fibroid Treatments

Mayo Clinic announced Sept. 30, 2014 that it is part of a team of research centers chosen by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatment strategies for women with uterine fibroids.

AHRQ has awarded the team a $3.95 million, first-year grant for the project, called Comparing Options for Management: Patient-Centered Results for Uterine Fibroids (COMPARE-UF). Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) will serve as the research and data coordinating center for the teams.

“We are very excited to have funding to provide the key clinical evidence that all women and their physicians need to make informed choices about fibroid treatments,” says Elizabeth Stewart, M.D., chair of Reproductive Endocrinology at Mayo Clinic and the clinical leader of the study.

Uterine fibroids are the most common noncancerous tumors in women of childbearing age and the second most common reason these women undergo surgery. Uterine fibroids can lead to significant pain, bleeding, and fertility problems. Treatment options include watchful waiting; treatments with drugs or hormones, embolization, or ultrasound; or invasive procedures such as partial or total hysterectomy. However, there is little evidence about the effectiveness of these therapies or their outcomes, including fibroid reoccurrence and women’s ability to have children.

“Although about 1 in 4 U.S. women have uterine fibroids, we have very little information about which treatments work best and which treatments work best for particular women,” says Dr. Stewart. “Our prior research shows that women in general and African-American women in particular have many unanswered questions about fibroids and fibroid treatments. Fibroids can also be a problem for women trying to get pregnant, and understanding the effects of fibroid treatments is one of our key goals.”

The project team comprises a research and data coordinating center based at DCRI, and nine clinical centers (see list below), each contributing information about geographically, racially, ethnically, and clinically diverse women who have been treated for uterine fibroids, and the centers will report on what happens to the women over time. Women who have had uterine fibroids, as well as other stakeholders, are directly involved in determining the direction of the research and are participating as active members of the research team. PCORI and AHRQ agreed in 2013 to collaborate on research to fill the evidence gaps related to uterine fibroids treatment.

PCORI is funding the project and AHRQ is providing scientific oversight and administration. The research team will receive up to $4 million per year for up to five years to build the registry and conduct the research.

Other centers participating in the collaboration include the University of California Fibroid Network (UCFN), Henry Ford Health System, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital-Chicago Consortium, University of North Carolina, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Inova Health Systems and Department of Defense Clinical Consortium.

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