FASN Identified As Genetic Link For Uterine Fibroids


This month researchers published new data which identifies genetic markers for uterine fibroids. The study was conducted by Dr. Cynthia Morton (pictured here), at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. While the study only provides results from one ethnic group, I believe that the direction of the research is intriguing and that it may prove to be a pivotal development in the cure of fibroids. As Dr. Morton stated, “We are in the era of personalized medicine.”  The referenced article is from the The American Journal of Human Genetics.

I spoke with Dr. Morton regarding her research findings.  Dr. Morton’s study reveals a mutation located near the fatty acid synthase gene (FASN).  This mutation is associated with an increased predisposition for uterine leiomyomata or fibroids.  The FAS protein were three times higher in uterine tissue taken from women with fibroids.  According to Dr. Morton, “Our discovery foretells a path to personalized medicine for women who have a genetic basis for development of uterine fibroids.”

I asked Dr. Morton what would be required to obtain samples from other ethnic groups.  The source of the data is derived from the “Finding Genes for Fibroids Study”, or “Sister Pairs” study which analyzes blood samples of sisters with uterine fibroids. A mere 250 samples per ethnic group are required to have sufficient data to assess.  The small number of required samples struck me as quite achievable considering the millions of women with fibroids.  Gathering data from more ethnic groups is particularly important Dr. Morton revealed, because, “…not all fibroids have the same genetic composition.”

I’ve never recommended a research study before.  This is new territory.  I’m quite cautious because I feel a responsibility to Fibroid Foundation readers to caution them in the event that a medical study is not patient sensitive.  I asked lots of questions about the requirements of the Sister Pairs study.  The requirements are a blood sample and two questionnaires.  If you decide to participate in the Sister Pairs study, consult your physician, and confirm that you are well enough to participate.  Always follow your own internal compass when making decisions regarding your health.

We have to find a cure!  The suffering experienced with uterine fibroids symptoms is more than anyone should bear.  I’ve reached out to my sister regarding the Sister Pairs study.  I will let you know when we participate.

I look forward to your feedback.



“It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks, to go forward with a great desire forever beating at the door of our hearts as we travel toward our distant goal.” 

~Helen Keller