Differentiation of colonic metaplasia from adenocarcinoma of urinary bladder

Lisa B. Jacobs, James D. Brooks, Jonathan I. Epstein

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32 Scopus citations


Colonic metaplasia and primary bladder adenocarcinoma are relatively uncommon entities that can have similar gross clinical appearances. Examples of colonic metaplasia histologically mimicking cancer have only rarely been reported. We retrospectively analyzed 38 cases of cystitis glandularis 118 cases of colonic metaplasia), 12 cases of adenocarcinoma of urinary bladder (two well-differentiated. WDA), and one in situ adenocarcinoma from the surgical pathology files of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Nine patients with colonic metaplasia had widespread lesions. Two showed superficial muscularis propria involvement, mimicking adenocarcinoma; one of these cases had been diagnosed as infiltrating WDA at both an academic center and a community hospital. Dissecting mucin pools were locally seen in four cases of widespread colonic metaplasia, also mimicking cancer. One of the nine cases showed minimal cytological atypia, but no cases showed mitoses or signet ring cells. Distinguishing WDA from colonic metaplasia was the finding in WDA of infiltrative architectural pattern (two of two), extensive muscle invasion (two of two), moderate anaplasia (one of two), mitotic figures (two of two), and extensive mucinous pools (one of two). The diagnosis of adenocarcinoma in situ was based on anaplasia. Clinically, colonic metaplasia may resemble cancer. Histologically, colonic metaplasia may mimic cancer based on extensive involvement of the lamina propria, focal mucinous pools, focal muscularis propria involvement, focal mild cytological atypia, and rare mitoses. Despite overlapping features with colonic metaplasia, the diagnosis of WDA is based on the greater degree and extent of these atypical findings in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1157
Number of pages6
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1997


  • Bladder adenocarcinoma
  • Colonic metaplasia
  • Cystitis glandularis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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