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Urothelial carcinoma-invasive

Urothelial carcinoma with glandular differentiation

Reviewer: Rugvedita Parakh, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 9 February 2013, last major update June 2010
Copyright: (c) 2003-2013, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Predominant features of urothelial carcinoma, but with distinct glands (i.e. a mixed tumor)


● Similar to urothelial carcinoma with gland-like lumens (not a WHO diagnosis, but considered by AFIP Series 4 to be the same as microcystic variant)

Clinical features

● 7% of urothelial carcinomas have squamous or glandular differentiation, which is associated with higher stage at presentation (Int Urol Nephrol 2001;33:631, Int Urol Nephrol 2007;39:803)
● Note: mucoid cytoplasmic inclusions are present in up to 37% of urothelial carcinomas, often high grade, but this is not considered to represent glandular differentiation (Hum Pathol 1992;23:860)
● Report as urothelial carcinoma with glandular differentiation, and estimate the percentage of the glandular component
● 50% of noninvasive tumors with glandular differentiation became invasive, but none developed adenocarcinoma (Am J Surg Pathol 2009;33:1241)

Micro description

● Urothelial carcinoma with focal true glands with goblet cells or colonic epithelium and mucin
● Distinction between true glands with glandular lumens (with colonic epithelium or goblet cells) and gland-like lumens (lacking these cells) appears to have no clinical significance if overlying pattern is clearly urothelial

Micro images

Urothelial differentiation is seen in the cells surrounding the gland-like spaces

Fig 1D: H&E

Fig 4: CK7+

Positive stains

● CK7, CK20

Negative stains

● Villin

Differential diagnosis

Adenocarcinoma: no urothelial component; tumor of pure glandular components with glands lined by goblet cells or intestinal cells, not flattened urothelial-like cells; usually deeply invasive, high grade
Colonic adenocarcinoma: CK7-, villin+ (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2002;126:1057)
Cystitis cystica / glandularis: glands in lamina propria lined by columnar, cuboidal or intestinal epithelium; no atypia, no mitotic figures, no necrosis
Müllerianosis: presence of 2 of 3 (endocervicosis, endometriosis or endosalpingiosis); no atypia, no mitotic figures
Nephrogenic metaplasia / adenoma: small hollow tubules similar to mesonephric tubules, usually lined by single layer of bland cuboidal or hobnail cells, surrounding eosinophilic or basophilic secretions; no/minimal atypia or mitotic figures; no true invasion
Urothelial carcinoma, microcystic variant: not true glands, lumens are lined by flattened or columnar epithelium, not goblet cells or colonic epithelium; lumens contain granular debris or necrotic cells, occasionally mucin

End of Bladder > Urothelial carcinoma-invasive > Urothelial carcinoma with glandular differentiation

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