Adenosquamous carcinoma

December 16, 2023

Adenosquamous carcinoma is a type of malignant (cancerous) tumour made up of two types of cells: glandular cells and squamous cells. It shares features with two other types of cancers: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer can start anywhere in the body where glandular cells or squamous cells are normally found. However, it is most commonly found in the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, lungs, skin, cervix, and bladder.

Adenosquamous carcinoma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that commonly metastasizes (spreads) to lymph nodes and other parts of the body. When the tumour spreads, the metastatic tumour deposit may consist of a combination of both cell types or only one cell type. Just over half of the time, only the glandular component (the adenocarcinoma) spreads.

Under microscopic examination, the tumour will be made up of large pink squamous cells and smaller, cuboidal or columnar-shaped glandular cells. The squamous cells are typically arranged in small groups called nests or large groups called sheets. Individual squamous cells may also be seen. These cells appear pink because they have undergone a process called keratinization. The glandular cells are also typically arranged in small groups although some may be forming round structures called glands. Some of these cells may contain a substance called mucin or mucin may be seen in the stroma surrounding the cells. Mucin inside the cell is called intracytoplasmic whereas mucin outside of the cell is called extracellular.

adenosquamous carcinoma
Adenosquamous carcinoma. This picture shows both abnormal squamous cells and groups of gland-like cells.

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