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Uterine leiomyomata (UL) are the most common tumours of the female genital tract and the primary cause of surgical removal of the uterus. Genetic factors contribute to UL susceptibility. To add understanding to the heritable genetic risk factors, we conduct a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of UL in up to 426,558 European women from FinnGen and a previous UL meta-GWAS. In addition to the 50 known UL loci, we identify 22 loci that have not been associated with UL in prior studies. UL-associated loci harbour genes enriched for development, growth, and cellular senescence. Of particular interest are the smooth muscle cell differentiation and proliferation-regulating genes functioning on the myocardin-cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1 A pathway. Our results further suggest that genetic predisposition to increased fat-free mass may be causally related to higher UL risk, underscoring the involvement of altered muscle tissue biology in UL pathophysiology. Overall, our findings add to the understanding of the genetic pathways underlying UL, which may aid in developing novel therapeutics.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Female, Humans, Uterine Neoplasms, Genome-Wide Association Study, Leiomyoma, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Muscular Diseases, Muscles