Bladder, ureter & renal pelvis

Urothelial carcinoma - invasive

With glandular differentiation

Last author update: 1 January 2016
Last staff update: 4 April 2023 (update in progress)

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Urothelial carcinoma glandular differentiation renal pelvis

Nicole K. Andeen, M.D.
Maria Tretiakova, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Andeen NK, Tretiakova M. With glandular differentiation. website. Accessed June 1st, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Glandular differentiation is defined by the presence of true glandular spaces, usually tubular or gland-like lumina, or with morphology similar to enteric adenocarcinomas and variable mucin production
  • Cytoplasmic mucin containing cells are seen in normal urothelium and are not considered to represent glandular differentiation (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2007;131:1244)
Essential features
  • Presence of true glandular spaces
    • Cytoplasmic mucin is seen in normal urothelium and not diagnostic of glandular differentiation
  • No known prognostic significance
  • Foci of glandular differentiation are less common than squamous differentiation, and seen in up to 10% of urothelial carcinomas (Mod Pathol 2009;22:S96)
  • Bladder, kidney
Clinical features
  • Similar to other urothelial carcinomas
Prognostic factors
Case reports
  • Too few cases to establish specific treatment recommendations
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • True glandular structures within a conventional urothelial carcinoma
  • Glands are of either tubular or enteric type, with a single layer of neoplastic columnar cells radially arranged around a lumen, with or without mucin production
  • May resemble enteric adenocarcinomas
  • May have signet ring morphology, with neoplastic signet ring cells floating in pools of mucin
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Nicole K. Andeen, M.D. and Maria Tretiakova, M.D., Ph.D.

Various images

Differential diagnosis
Additional references
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