STUDY QUESTION: Can asoprisnil, a selective progesterone receptor modulator, provide clinically meaningful improvements in heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) associated with uterine fibroids with an acceptable safety profile? SUMMARY ANSWER: Uninterrupted treatment with asoprisnil for 12 months effectively controlled HMB and reduced fibroid and uterine volume with few adverse events. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: In a 3-month study, asoprisnil (5, 10 and 25 mg) suppressed uterine bleeding, reduced fibroid and uterine volume, and improved hematological parameters in a dose-dependent manner. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: In two Phase 3, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentre studies, women received oral asoprisnil 10 mg, asoprisnil 25 mg or placebo (2:2:1) once daily for up to 12 months. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Premenopausal women ≥18 years of age in North America with HMB associated with uterine fibroids were included (N = 907). The primary efficacy endpoint was the percentage of women who met all three predefined criteria at 12 months or the final month for patients who prematurely discontinued: (1) ≥50% reduction in monthly blood loss (MBL) by menstrual pictogram, (2) hemoglobin concentration ≥11 g/dL or an increase of ≥1 g/dL, and (3) no interventional therapy for uterine fibroids. Secondary efficacy endpoints included changes in other menstrual bleeding parameters, volume of the largest fibroids, uterine volume and health-related quality of life (HRQL). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: In all, 90% and 93% of women in the asoprisnil 10-mg and 25-mg groups, respectively, and 35% of women in the placebo group met the primary endpoint (P < 0.001). Similar results were observed at month 6 (P < 0.001). The percentage of women who achieved amenorrhea in any specified month ranged from 66-78% in the asoprisnil 10-mg group and 83-93% in the asoprisnil 25-mg group, significantly higher than with placebo (3-12%, P < 0.001). Hemoglobin increased rapidly (by month 2) with asoprisnil treatment and was significantly higher versus placebo throughout treatment. The primary fibroid and uterine volumes were significantly reduced from baseline through month 12 with asoprisnil 10 mg (median changes up to -48% and -28%, respectively) and 25 mg (median changes up to -63% and -39%, respectively) versus placebo (median changes up to +16% and +13%, respectively; all P < 0.001). Dose-dependent, significant improvements in HRQL (Uterine Fibroid Symptom and Quality of Life instrument) were observed with asoprisnil treatment. Asoprisnil was generally well tolerated. Endometrial biopsies indicated dose- and time-dependent decreases in proliferative patterns and increases in quiescent or minimally stimulated endometrium at month 12 of treatment. Although not statistically significantly different at month 6, mean endometrial thickness at month 12 increased by ~2 mm in both asoprisnil groups compared with placebo (P < 0.01). This effect was associated with cystic changes in the endometrium on MRI and ultrasonography, which led to invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in some asoprisnil-treated women. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Most study participants were black; few Asian and Hispanic women participated. The study duration may have been insufficient to fully characterize the endometrial effects. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Daily uninterrupted treatment with asoprisnil was highly effective in controlling menstrual bleeding, improving anemia, reducing fibroid and uterine volume, and increasing HRQL in women with HMB associated with uterine fibroids. However, this treatment led to an increase in endometrial thickness and invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, with potential unknown consequences. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This trial was funded by AbbVie Inc. (prior sponsors: TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Abbott Laboratories). E.A. Stewart was a site investigator in the Phase 2 study of asoprisnil and consulted for TAP during the design and conduct of these studies while at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. She received support from National Institutes of Health grants HD063312, HS023418 and HD074711 and research funding, paid to Mayo Clinic for patient care costs related to an NIH-funded trial from InSightec Ltd. She consulted for AbbVie, Allergan, Bayer HealthCare AG, Gynesonics, and Welltwigs. She received royalties from UpToDate and the Med Learning Group. M.P. Diamond received research funding for the conduct of the studies paid to the institution and consulted for AbbVie. He is a stockholder and board and director member of Advanced Reproductive Care. He has also received funding for study conduct paid to the institution from Bayer and ObsEva. A.R.W. Williams consulted for TAP and Repros Therapeutics Inc. He has current consultancies with PregLem SA, Gedeon Richter, HRA Pharma and Bayer. B.R. Carr consulted for and received research funding from AbbVie. E.R. Myers consulted for AbbVie, Allergan and Bayer. R.A. Feldman received compensation for serving as a principal investigator and participating in the conduct of the trial. W. Elger was co-inventor of several patents related to asoprisnil. C. Mattia-Goldberg is a former employee of AbbVie and may own AbbVie stock or stock options. B.M. Schwefel and K. Chwalisz are employees of AbbVie and may own AbbVie stock or stock options. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT00152269, NCT00160381 (clinicaltrials.gov). TRIAL REGISTRATION DATE: 7 September 2005; 8 September 2005. DATE OF FIRST PATIENT’S ENROLMENT: 12 September 2002; 6 September 2002.