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Papers: 2 Apr 2022 - 8 Apr 2022

2022 Mar 31

Syst Biol Reprod Med

Is there a role for small molecule metabolite biomarkers in the development of a diagnostic test for endometriosis?


Tomkins NE, Girling JE, Boughton B, Holdsworth-Carson SJ
Syst Biol Reprod Med. 2022 Mar 31:1-24.
PMID: 35361022.


Endometriosis is a disease defined by the presence of benign lesions of endometrial-like glands and stroma outside the endometrial cavity. Affecting an estimated 11.4% of Australian women, symptoms include chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea and infertility. The current gold standard of diagnosis requires an expensive and invasive laparoscopic surgery, resulting in delayed time to treatment. The identification of a non-invasive endometriosis biomarker – a measurable factor correlating with disease presence or activity – has therefore become a priority in endometriosis research, although no biomarker has yet been validated. As small molecule metabolites and lipids have emerged as a potential focus, this review with systematic approach, aims to summarize studies examining metabolomic biomarkers of endometriosis in order to guide future research. EMBASE, PubMed and Web of Science were searched using keywords: OR OR AND OR AND , and only studies written in English from August 2000 to August 2020 were included. Twenty-nine studies met inclusion and exclusion criteria and were included. These studies identified potential biomarkers in serum, ectopic tissue, eutopic endometrium, peritoneal fluid, follicular fluid, urine, cervical swabs and endometrial fluid. Glycerophospholipids were identified as potential biomarkers in all specimens, except urine and cervical swab specimens. However, no individual molecule or metabolite combination has reached clinical diagnostic utility. Further research using large study populations with robust patient phenotype and specimen characterisation is required if we are to make progress in identifying and validating a non-invasive diagnostic test for endometriosis.