Secretory carcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 August 2011

Revised: 25 February 2019

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

PubMed search: secretory [title] carcinoma uterus

Mohamed Mokhtar Desouki, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Desouki M. Secretory carcinoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/uterussecretory.html. Accessed September 17th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Subtype of well differentiated endometrioid adenocarcinoma
  • In 1970s, disproportionate number of cases associated with young women using oracon, a sequential oral contraceptive agent with high estrogen and small progesterone content, no longer available (Cancer 1977;39:592, Fertil Steril 1976;27:346)
Clinical features
  • 2/3 present after menopause with vaginal bleeding
  • Nulliparous and multiparous women
  • 50% of patients are obese
  • Favorable prognosis
Case reports
  • TAH / BSO then possible radiation (for advanced disease) for disease limited to the uterus (NCCN Guidelines Version 1.2014); consideration of preoperative radiation for tumors grossly involving the cervix before doing surgery (this is uncommon)
Gross description
  • Indistinguishable from other carcinomas on gross examination
  • May not be apparent on gross examination despite an obvious tumor on microscopic examination
  • May resemble late secretory phase endometrium
  • Visible tumors vary from sessile polyps to nodules or irregular, thickened plaques that may be localized or diffuse
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Confluent, cribriform or villoglandular voluminous glands with glycogen, subnuclear vacuoles (resembles day 17 - 22 endometrium), plus late secretory pattern in uninvolved endometrium
  • Above pattern may coexist with conventional endometrioid pattern
  • FIGO grade 1 - 2 and nuclear grade 1
  • Corpus luteum typically present in ovaries, particularly in premenopausal women not on hormone therapy
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

The glands at upper
left demonstrate
clear cytoplasm
due to glycogen

High power reveals
small regular nuclei
and abundant
vacuolated cytoplasm

Images hosted on other servers:

Prominent cytoplasmic vacuoles
and intraluminal secretions

Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
Additional references
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