Fundic gland polyp

What is a fundic gland polyp?

A fundic gland polyp is a non-cancerous growth that develops from the cells lining the inside of the stomach. It is the most common type of polyp in the stomach. Fundic gland polyps typically arise in the fundus or body of the stomach. Most fundic gland polyps are associated with medications called proton pump inhibitors. Multiple polyps may develop in people with a genetic syndrome called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

Continue reading to learn more about your pathology report for fundic gland polyp

The stomach

The stomach is part of the gastrointestinal tract. When we eat, food enters the mouth and travels down the esophagus into the stomach. Once in the stomach, the food is mixed with a strong acid which breaks the food down into very small particles. This process is called digestion. The digested food particles are then either absorbed into the bloodstream or removed from the body as waste.

The stomach is divided into four parts: cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. The first part of the stomach, the cardia, connects with the esophagus. The last part of the stomach, the pylorus, connects with the small bowel. When food leaves the stomach and enters the small bowel, it is mixed with fluids from the liver (bile) and pancreas (pancreatic secretions) which aid in digestion.

The tissue on the inner surface of the stomach is made up of specialized epithelial cells that form a barrier called the epithelium. The cells at the top of the epithelium are called foveolar cells and they protect the stomach from the strong acid used to break down food. Foveolar cells are found throughout the stomach. The epithelium in the fundus and body of the stomach also contains specialized parietal and chief cells which are responsible for producing acid, enzymes, and a protein called intrinsic factor. Underneath the surface epithelium is a thin layer of tissue called the lamina propria which supports the surface cells. Together, the surface epithelium and lamina propria are called the mucosa.

How do pathologists make the diagnosis of fundic gland polyp?

The diagnosis of fundic gland polyp is usually made after part or all of the polyp is removed during a procedure called endoscopy. This procedure involves using a camera attached to a long tube to see the inside of the stomach. The tissue removed is then sent to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.

When examined under the microscope, fundic gland polyps are made up of epithelial cells connected together to form glands. The glands form large, open spaces called cysts. A combination of foveolar cells, parietal cells, and chief cells are usually found in these glands.

fundic gland polyp

This picture shows the large, open glands in a fundic gland polyp


Pathologists use the word dysplasia to describe cells showing an abnormal pattern of growth. While it is rare to see dysplasia in a fundic gland polyp, pathologists always look for dysplasia because it is considered a pre-cancerous condition that can lead to a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma over time. People with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) syndrome are at higher risk for developing dysplasia in a fundic gland polyp.

If there is any evidence of dysplasia it will be described in your report. Pathologists divide dysplasia into low and high grades based on how abnormal the tissue looks when examined under the microscope.

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