Uterine fibroids (leiomyomas) are present in >75% of women and can cause serious morbidity. They are by far the leading cause of hysterectomy. Fibroids are a complex mixture of cells that include fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells. Rich in extracellular matrix, they typically arise through somatic mutations, most commonly MED12. Their lack of growth inhibition and their ability to have facets of malignancy yet be histologically and biologically benign provide opportunities to explore basic processes. To date, the mechanisms responsible for growth and development of leiomyomas are an enigma. This review provides an overview of current understanding and future directions for clinical and basic research of fibroids.
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