The EnDomEtrial caNcer Research Initiative – EDEN – is a collaborative research program established by ANZGOG in 2021, to address the significant unmet needs of endometrial cancer patients in Australia and New Zealand.

In the absence of a national endometrial cancer body, ANZGOG hopes to stimulate collaborative activity to flatten the endometrial cancer curve and to improve treatment of endometrial cancer patients supported by new research.

Endometrial cancer cases have doubled in Australia and nearly tripled in New Zealand over the past 20 years.

Cases have almost doubled in the last 20 years in Australia (from 1,544 new patients diagnosed in 2001 to over 3,000 new patients in 2021), and globally, endometrial cancer cases are set to increase by more than half again between now and 2040. It is the second most-common diagnosis, next to breast cancer, for cancers specific to the female population.

Origins of EDEN

The endometrial cancer crisis and the need for the EDEN Initiative

Uterine cancer, and specifically endometrial cancer, which arises from the inner lining (the endometrium) of the uterus is the most common gynaecological cancer. It is becoming increasingly prevalent both here and internationally. In the last ten years, Australia and New Zealand have seen a 40-44% increase in diagnoses. [*AIHW, Te Whatu Ora (Health NZ)]

While survival can be high when diagnosed early, issues such as higher body weight, later diagnosis, fertility preservation for younger women, and dramatic increase in numbers are impacting outcomes, and creating a need to invest more heavily in areas such as prevention and risk assessment.

The EDEN Research Initiative is ANZGOG’s response to the alarming rise in the number of endometrial cancer cases. The EDEN Initiative has the potential to improve the lives of endometrial cancer patients and their families significantly.

“Experts from around the world will put their collective heads together to improve outcomes for women with endometrial cancer at the international Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup Endometrial Cancer Consensus Conference being planned for 2023 to map out the research areas we should be focusing on in the next 5 years. The ideas, studies, and trials we plan through EDEN, will be informed by the results of the consensus conference. Conversely, the ideas we generate through EDEN are sure to be a part of the discussions at the consensus conference.”

Professor Alison Brand AM – Deputy Chair, EDEN

The instigation of EDEN was as a result of a 2019 workshop held at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), in which leaders in both the clinical management and research of endometrial cancer, in partnership with consumer advocates, The Cancer Council of Victoria and Cancer Australia, met to lead a focussed discussion on unmet needs and identify key priorities for endometrial cancer research and management. ANZGOG then brought together a multidisciplinary team of pre-clinical, clinical and allied health researchers to focus a program of collaboration and research to make change.

EDEN – Areas of focus

EDEN will drive a program of collaborative research across priority areas for intervention, including prevention, risk assessment, early diagnosis, surgical innovations, adjuvant and recurrent treatments, survivorship, translational research, and advocacy and funding. Each of these focus areas has been identified for its importance in improving the overall care and outcomes for endometrial cancer patients. These areas of focus are being developed in ongoing consultation with ANZGOG members.

The EDEN Steering Committee will strategically direct the research opportunities, and work closely with ANZGOG’s Uterine Tumour Working Group. Together, EDEN and the UTWG  will assist investigators to develop their studies, engage ANZGOG members, public, philanthropic and pharma funders, as well as local and global collaborators to achieve the Initiative’s goals.

“It’s very under-recognised. Many don’t even know that endometrial cancer exists, even though it is the most common gynaecological cancer. They’ve heard of cervix cancer and know about screening for cervix cancer. And they’ve heard of ovarian cancer…but very few people have even heard of endometrial cancer. They are certainly unaware of the risk factors.” 

Associate Professor Yoland Antill – Chair Elect, ANZGOG Research Advisory Committee

The importance of collaborations

ANZGOG has a history of engaging in collaborations to deliver awareness,  education, problem-solving, and research. The EDEN Initiative will only be delivered by addressing the key areas through collaborations with the government, both state and federal, the pharmaceutical industry, philanthropy, and cancer consumers providing advocacy. Project Manager funding has been secured for 2.5 years, until -2024. More than 60 ANZGOG clinical and scientific members are volunteering their time to help drive the Focus Group areas of the Initiative forward.

The EDEN Initiative continues to seek private and public donations.

For all EDEN Initiative enquires, please contact Dr Kathryn Alsop (Project Manager- EDEN)