Colon tumor
Signet ring carcinoma

Author: Raul Gonzalez M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 3 January 2017, last major update August 2015

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: "Signet ring carcinoma" colon
Cite this page: Signet ring carcinoma. website. Accessed March 22nd, 2017.
Definition / General
  • Sometimes called "linitis plastica," but this typically refers to signet ring carcinoma of stomach
  • Can occur anywhere in colon, though rectum is a less common location
Clinical Features
Prognostic Factors
Case Reports
Clinical Images

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Pedunculated polyp

Stenotic rectal carcinoma

Polyp in proximal sigmoid colon

Discolored lesion

Gross Description
  • May diffusely infiltrate colon wall, rather than forming an exophytic mass
  • Can rarely arise within a polyp
Micro Description
  • Proliferation of signet ring cells with intracellular mucin that displaces nucleus to side
  • Pools of extracellular mucin often present as well
  • Diffuse tissue infiltration less common than in gastric signet ring carcinoma
  • May rarely be in situ or confined to a polyp (J Surg Res 2010;163:250)
  • No gland formation in signet ring component, although it may be present elsewhere in the same lesion
Micro Images

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Numerous mucinous pools

Signet ring cells floating

Signet ring carcinoma


For comparison,
normal colonic glands
with signet ring cells, CK7

Virtual Slides

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Mixed mucinous signet ring adenocarcinoma

Negative Stains
Molecular / Cytogenetics Description
Differential Diagnosis