Sessile serrated adenoma

Minor changes: 5 March 2021

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed search: Sessile serrated adenoma [title]

Enoch Kuo, M.D.
Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 22,831
Page views in 2021 to date: 9,470
Cite this page: Kuo E, Gonzalez RS. Sessile serrated adenoma. website. Accessed April 18th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Serrated neoplastic precursor lesion of colorectal cancer (Am J Gastroenterol 2012;107:1315)
  • Defined as having 2 or 3 contiguous crypts demonstrating features of sessile serrated adenoma, as discussed below (per Bosman: WHO Classification of Tumours of the Digestive System, 4th Edition, 2010)
  • Criteria for serrated polyposis syndrome include 1 of the following:
    • At least 5 serrated polyps proximal to the sigmoid colon with at least 2 greater than 1 cm in size
    • Any serrated polyp proximal to the sigmoid colon in a patient with a first degree relative with serrated polyposis syndrome
    • More than 20 serrated polyps of any size in the colon
Essential features
  • Neoplastic, premalignant lesion of the colorectum
  • If present, patient should undergo increased colonoscopy surveillance
  • May develop traditional cytologic dysplasia and progress to colorectal carcinoma with microsatellite instability
  • Current official WHO designation is sessile serrated lesion; former WHO designation was sessile serrated adenoma / polyp
  • Examples that develop adenomatous epithelium are termed sessile serrated adenoma with cytologic dysplasia (Gastrointest Endosc 2014;80:307)
ICD coding
  • ICD-10: K63.5 - Colon polyp
Clinical features
  • Incidental findings on colonoscopy and have no clinical features unless they progress to malignancy
Radiology description
Prognostic factors
Gross description
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Sessile serrated adenoma on colonoscopy

Sessile serrated
adenoma before
and after endoscopic

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Sawtooth serrations of the epithelium with abundant mucin, similar to hyperplastic polyps
  • Basal crypt dilation with mucous retention
  • Bases of the crypts are more serrated compared to the surface and have mature goblet cells and mucinous cells (Am J Gastroenterol 2012;107:1315)
  • Lateral spread of the crypt bases (commonly described as boot shaped or anchor shaped crypts)
  • Conventional low grade or high grade dysplasia may also be present
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Raul S. Gonzalez, M.D. and Christopher Hartley, M.D.

Sessile serrated adenoma / polyp

Sessile serrated adenoma with adenomatous dysplasia

Images hosted on other servers:

Sessile serrated adenoma / polyp

Ascending colon

Sessile serrated adenoma


Positive stains
Negative stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Sample pathology report
  • Ascending colon, polyp, endoscopic mucosal resection:
    • Sessile serrated lesion
    • Lateral margins of resection unremarkable.
Differential diagnosis
Additional references
Board review style question #1
What mutations can be seen in sessile serrated adenoma?

  1. Beta catenin and KRAS
  2. BRAF and beta catenin
  3. BRAF and CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)
  4. KRAS and CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)
Board review style answer #1
C. BRAF and CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). KRAS and beta catenin mutations are not associated with sessile serrated adenomas and are instead seen in traditional serrated adenomas and tubular adenomas.

Comment here

Reference: Sessile serrated adenoma
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02