Colon nontumor
Nonneoplastic, non-congenital lesions
Colchicine toxicity

Topic Completed: 1 August 2013

Revised: 16 November 2018, last major update August 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: colchicine toxicity

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 246
Page views in 2020 to date: 155
Cite this page: Gonzalez R. Colchicine toxicity. website. Accessed May 29th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Aberration of colonic epithelial cells due to antimitotic activity of colchicine
  • Colchicine toxicity may be visible throughout GI tract, particularly gastric antrum and duodenum
  • Colchicine binds to tubulin, preventing completion of mitotic activity, which may damage normal physiologic function
Clinical features
  • Patients with features of colchicine effect in colonic tissue typically have colchicine toxicity clinically, which can lead to multiorgan failure and death
  • Patients have elevated plasma colchicine levels
Case reports
Gross description
  • Colonic mucosa usually normal on endoscopy
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Abundant epithelial mitotic figures with metaphase arrest, typically in lower portion of crypts; often enlarged epithelial cells with condensed chromatin in ring formation within center of cell; associated with epithelial loss of polarity and pseudostratification (Am J Surg Pathol 2001;25:1067)
  • Nuclei small, hyperchromatic and compressed to periphery of cell; apoptotic figures may be abundant
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Colchicine effect in hyperplastic polyp (H&E and Ki67)

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