Metastatic Foci of Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma in a Tubular Adenoma of the Colon

Tarek A. Bismar, Horacio Maluf, Hanlin L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We describe a case of adenomatous polyp of the colon that harbored small foci of signet ring cell carcinoma. The patient was a 64-year-old woman with end-stage renal disease and sepsis who underwent colonoscopy to evaluate the possibility of pseudomembranous colitis. A polyp was found incidentally in the right colon and a biopsy was performed. Histologic examination of the polyp revealed typical features of tubular adenoma without evidence of high-grade dysplasia. However, 2 small foci of signet ring cell carcinoma were identified that infiltrated the lamina propria. In contrast to adenomatous epithelium, the signet ring cells were immunohistochemically positive for cytokeratin 7 and negative for cytokeratin 20, suggesting a metastasis rather than a primary tumor. Multiple random biopsies from the right and left colon, as well as the ileum, exhibited no histologic evidence of malignancy. Subsequently, signet ring cell carcinoma with similar morphology and identical immunophenotype was detected in biopsies from the endometrium, an unusual location for primary signet ring cell carcinoma. Preliminary workup excluded the breast as a possible primary site, but further investigation was not possible because of the patient's death with no autopsy granted. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of metastatic signet ring cell carcinoma to an adenomatous polyp of the colon. This case illustrates the necessity of submitting all polyps entirely and the importance of examining them carefully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1509-1512
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


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