Peter A. W. Rogers , BSc, PhD, Thomas M. D’Hooghe , MD, PhD, Asgerally Fazleabas , PhD, Caroline E. Gargett , PhD, Linda C. Giudice , MD, PhD, MSc, Grant W. Montgomery , PhD, Luk Rombauts , MD, PhD, Lois A. Salamonsen , PhD, Krina T. Zondervan , DPhil
Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent disorder where endometrial tissue forms lesions outside the uterus. Endometriosis affects an estimated 10% of women in the reproductive-age group, rising to 30% to 50% in patients with infertility and/or pain, with significant impact on their physical, mental, and social well-being. There is no known cure, and most current medical treatments are not suitable long term due to their side-effect profiles. Endometriosis has an estimated annual cost in the United States of $18.8 to $22 billion (2002 figures). Although endometriosis was first described more than 100 years ago, current knowledge of its pathogenesis, spontaneous evolution, and the pathophysiology of the related infertility and pelvic pain, remain unclear. A consensus workshop was convened following the 10th World Congress on Endometriosis to establish recommendations for priorities in endometriosis research. One major issue identified as impacting on the capacity to undertake endometriosis research is the need for multidisciplinary expertise. A total of 25 recommendations for research have been developed, grouped under 5 subheadings: (1) diagnosis, (2) classification and prognosis, (3) treatment and outcome, (4) epidemiology, and (5) pathophysiology. Endometriosis research is underfunded relative to other diseases with high health care burdens. This may be due to the practical difficulties of developing competitive research proposals on a complex and poorly understood disease, which affects only women. By producing this consensus international research priorities statement it is the hope of the workshop participants that researchers will be encouraged to develop new interdisciplinary research proposals that will attract increased funding support for work on endometriosis.