Signet ring cell

Topic Completed: 1 August 2015

Minor changes: 1 October 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: "Signet ring cell carcinoma" colon

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 12,935
Page views in 2020 to date: 12,819
Cite this page: Gonzalez R. Signet ring cell. website. Accessed November 23rd, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Sometimes called "linitis plastica," but this typically refers to signet ring cell carcinoma of stomach
  • Can occur anywhere in colon, though rectum is a less common location
Clinical features
Prognostic factors
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Pedunculated polyp

Stenotic rectal carcinoma

Discolored lesion

Gross description
  • May diffusely infiltrate colon wall, rather than forming an exophytic mass
  • Can rarely arise within a polyp
Microscopic (histologic) 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 cell carcinoma
  • May rarely be in situ or confined to a polyp (J Surg Res 2010;163:250)
  • No gland formation in signet ring cell component, although it may be present elsewhere in the same lesion
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Numerous mucinous pools

Signet ring cells floating


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

Negative stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
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