Colon tumor
Villous adenocarcinoma of colon

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

Revised: 3 January 2017, last major update July 2015

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

PubMed Search: Villous adenocarcinoma [title] colon
Cite this page: Villous adenocarcinoma of colon. website. Accessed November 15th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Well differentiated subtype of colorectal carcinoma with good prognosis that resembles villous adenoma on the surface (Anticancer Res 1998;18:2649)
  • Not formally recognized by the WHO
  • Approximately 3% - 5% of colorectal carcinomas have villous / adenoma-like features
Clinical features
  • Low rate of metastasis to lymph nodes and other organs
  • Biopsy may resemble villous adenoma, so clinical / endoscopic correlation is essential
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Villous tumor with central ulceration

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Invasive carcinoma with architectural and cytologic features resembling villous adenoma
  • May have traditional invasive component or invade by pushing
  • Mucinous features often present
  • Epithelial islands in desmoplastic stroma is a helpful finding (Am J Surg Pathol 2004;28:1460)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Abrupt transition from benign to malignant mucosa

Flickr Images:

Contributed by Raul Gonzalez, M.D.:

Villous adenocarcinoma of colon

Contributed by Semir Vranic, M.D.:






Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • 24% of cases have microsatellite instability
Differential diagnosis
  • Villous adenoma: can be hard to distinguish on biopsy (subtle clues include gland distortion and desmoplasia)