Colon tumor
Other tumors
Metastases to colon

Topic Completed: 1 January 2016

Minor changes: 10 July 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Metastases [title] colon

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 608
Page views in 2020 to date: 279
Cite this page: Gonzalez R. Metastases to colon. website. Accessed June 1st, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Secondary involvement of colon by a neoplasm of extracolonic origin
  • Uncommon (for example, occurs in 2% of breast and lung carcinomas)
Essential features
  • Metastases more common in small intestine than in colon
  • Primary lesion is often but not always identifiable
  • Most common primaries are stomach, lung, prostate, breast and ovarian carcinomas and melanoma
Clinical features
  • Endometrioid adenocarcinoma: if associated with colonic endometriosis, then represents an enigmatic primary rather than a metastasis
  • Leukemia: usually involves right colon and terminal ileum, as polypoid or transmural infiltrates
  • Melanoma: may have long interval between primary lesion and metastases (Dis Colon Rectum 2003;46:441)
  • Prostate: more common to be direct spread / invasion than a metastasis
    • Resections for rectal cancer may rarely contain lymph nodes with metastatic prostate carcinoma
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:
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Soft tissue mass
due to squamous
cell carcinoma
primary of lung

Case reports
Gross description
  • Central ulceration extending toward mucosa, but often sparing it
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Disease usually resembles primary tumor microscopically
  • Metastases may be present along serosal surface or within the wall but mucosal involvement is uncommon
  • Adjacent / overlying colonic epithelium is not dysplastic
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:
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Metastatic melaonoma to sigmoid colon

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Poorly differentiated
squamous cell
carcinoma metastatic
from lung

Differential diagnosis
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