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BCL6 and Endometriosis: What You Should Know

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium (the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus) begins growing outside of it. Women with endometriosis often experience infertility, pain, or inflammation. In some cases, endometriosis can be asymptomatic, making it a cause of unexplained infertility that is difficult to catch. BCL-6 is a tested marker for endometriosis and may help diagnose it in women with unexplained infertility. Here is more information on the relationship between BCL6 & endometriosis.

What Is BCL6?

BCL6 is a protein that impacts aspects of cell activity such as cell death, inflammation, and development. BCL6 can act as a marker of lymphoma but has other potential effects on the body as well. Women who experience endometriosis commonly have an overexpression of BCL6, which may contribute to its development. As a protein that can be tested for, BCL6 can act as a marker of unexplained fertility connected to endometriosis.

How BCL6 Affects Endometriosis and Infertility

Here are several ways in which BCL6 may play a role in endometriosis and infertility:

  • BCL6 may increase the production of inflammatory chemicals that trigger inflammation of the uterine wall lining. This may help the growth and survival of endometriotic lesions (the patches of endometrial tissue outside the uterus) and prevent the implantation of embryos.
  • BCL6 may interfere with the action of progesterone (a hormone that prepares the endometrium for pregnancy) and cause progesterone resistance. This may result in abnormal endometrial development and function and reduced receptivity to embryos.

How BCL6 Can Be Tested

BCL6 can be tested by performing an endometrial biopsy, which involves taking a small tissue sample from the uterus’s lining. This may be done during a regular exam, usually 7 to 10 days after ovulation or after a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH), which indicates that ovulation is about to happen. The biopsy sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

In the lab, technicians can utilize tests that determine BCL6 levels and can help determine whether there is a connection between BCL6 & endometriosis in the patient. A positive BCL6 test result may confirm inflammation and indicate the presence of endometriosis and potentially infertility. A negative BCL6 test result may help rule out inflammation or endometriosis in the endometrium.

BCL6 testing is a clinical tool to help fertility experts confirm silent endometriosis in women with unexplained infertility. The test is not a final diagnostic tool, so patients may need further investigation, like laparoscopic incision surgery, to confirm the presence of endometriosis.

How BCL6 Can Be Treated

The right treatment option for the effects of BCL6 overproduction depends on each patient’s situation and goals. Some possible treatments include:

  • Laparoscopy surgery: this involves inserting a thin tube with a camera and surgical tools through small cuts in the belly. The surgeon can then see and remove or destroy any endometriotic lesions using specialized techniques to remove the extra endometrial tissues.
  • Hormonal therapy: this involves taking medications that change the production or action of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can stimulate the growth of endometriotic lesions, so changing their production levels may help lessen the effects of BCL6 overproduction. Fertility specialists may recommend birth control pills, aromatase inhibitors, progestins, GnRH agonists or antagonists, or SPRMs.
  • Anti-inflammatory therapy: this involves taking medications that reduce inflammation caused by endometriosis. NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, and corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone or prednisone, may be applied in treatment to help manage pain and inflammation.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): this process involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, taking them out from the ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm, and transferring one or more embryos into the uterus. IVF may help overcome some barriers to implantation caused by endometriosis and increase pregnancy chances. While it won’t prevent other symptoms related to BCL6 overproduction and endometriosis, it may increase the chance of successful pregnancy.

Test for BCL6 & Endometriosis Today

BCL6 is a protein biomarker overexpressed in women with endometriosis that may lead to inflammation, progesterone resistance, and impair fertility. Clinicians can test for BCL6 & endometriosis by performing an endometrial biopsy and testing for the presence of BCL6. A positive BCL6 test result may indicate a need for further evaluation and treatment for endometriosis and infertility. Fertility specialists can help treat unexplained infertility using methods such as in vitro fertilization. If you’re experiencing unexplained infertility, consider asking your doctor about testing for endometriosis.

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