Mucinous adenocarcinoma

Editorial Board Member: Catherine E. Hagen, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief: Debra L. Zynger, M.D.
Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.

Last author update: 12 April 2021
Last staff update: 19 April 2023

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Mucinous carcinoma [title] colon

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2022: 21,363
Page views in 2023 to date: 26,597
Cite this page: Gonzalez RS. Mucinous adenocarcinoma. website. Accessed November 28th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • WHO recognized subtype of colorectal carcinoma with mucin lakes comprising at least 50% of tumor mass, though utility of 50% cutoff is unclear (Histopathology 2019;74:406)
Essential features
  • Most common subtype of colorectal carcinoma
  • Mucin production easily observed on histology
  • Some cases are microsatellite instability (MSI) high
  • Unclear whether worse prognosis than conventional colorectal carcinoma
  • Variably called colloid carcinoma
Clinical features
Prognostic factors
Case reports
Gross description
  • Exophytic, gelatinous mass
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Causing intussusception

Missing Image

Cecal tumor

Missing Image

Arising in villous adenoma

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Adenocarcinoma with strips of tumor cells floating in large extracellular mucin lakes comprising at least half of tumor mass
  • Signet ring cells (with intracellular mucin) may also be present but should comprise less than half of tumor
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.

Abundant extracellular mucin

Epithelial cells within mucin

Positive stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Sample pathology report
  • Ascending colon, resection:
    • Mucinous adenocarcinoma, well differentiated (see synoptic report)
Differential diagnosis
Board review style question #1

Which of the following is true about mucinous adenocarcinoma of the colorectum?

  1. It is the most common subtype of colorectal carcinoma
  2. It unequivocally has a better prognosis than standard colorectal carcinoma
  3. It usually affects pediatric patients
  4. Signet ring cells are always at least a minor component
Board review style answer #1
A. It is the most common subtype of colorectal carcinoma

Comment Here

Reference: Mucinous adenocarcinoma
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02