Micropapillary carcinoma

Last author update: 1 February 2021
Last staff update: 2 February 2021

Copyright: 2002-2024,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Micropapillary carcinoma [title] colon

Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2023: 3,217
Page views in 2024 to date: 1,395
Cite this page: Gonzalez RS. Micropapillary carcinoma. website. Accessed May 19th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • Uncommon subtype of colonic adenocarcinoma with distinctive behavior
  • Officially recognized in WHO classification
Essential features
  • Histology: small clusters of malignant cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and pleomorphic nuclei
  • High rate of lymph node metastasis (even when early stage) and poor prognosis
Case reports
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Small clusters of malignant cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and pleomorphic nuclei
  • Micropapillae inhabit lacunar-like spaces and demonstrate a reverse polarity configuration, with apical surfaces facing the periphery rather than the center
  • Lymphovascular invasion is commonly present
  • Morphology is similar to micropapillary carcinomas of other organs (Adv Anat Pathol 2004;11:297)
  • Coexisting regions of conventional adenocarcinoma also usually present
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.

Micropapillary carcinoma

Positive stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Sample pathology report
  • Ascending colon, mass, biopsy:
    • Carcinoma with prominent micropapillary features (see comment)
    • Comment: Micropapillary carcinoma of the colon has a reported propensity to metastasize to lymph nodes even when early stage.
Differential diagnosis
Board review style question #1

Which of the following is true about micropapillary carcinoma of the colon?

  1. It is characterized by high microsatellite instability
  2. It metastasizes to lymph nodes often
  3. It represents < 1% of colon cancers
  4. Micropapillae are the same thing as tumor budding
Board review style answer #1
B. It metastasizes to lymph nodes often

Comment Here

Reference: Micropapillary carcinoma
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02