Pathology dictionary

What is an adenoma?

An adenoma is a non-cancerous tumour made up of cells that connect together to form glands. Adenomas are very common tumours and they can occur in almost any location in the body.

Types of adenomas

There are many different types of adenomas. The type depends on where in the body the adenoma develops and the type of cells making the glands.

Common types of adenomas include:

Normal glands

The cells in a gland stick together to form a ring with a hollow centre called a lumen. Glands produce a variety of substances that help organs function normally. For example, the glands in the stomach make and release substances that help break down food.

Glands in an adenoma

The glands in an adenoma are abnormal. For example, the glands in an adenoma tend to be darker and closer together than the glands in normal tissue. Adenomas also often have more glands and the glands are less organized than the glands in normal tissue. These kinds of changes allow your pathologist to identify a tumour as an adenoma.

Some types of adenomas can turn into cancer over time

​Adenomas are non-cancerous tumours. However, some adenomas are considered a pre-cancerous condition because they can turn into cancer over time. The risk associated with an adenoma depends on the type of adenoma, its location in the body, and whether your pathologist sees any evidence of an additional  cellular change called dysplasia.

Talk to your doctor about about the risk associated with your type of adenoma.

A+ A A-