December 5, 2023


Metaplasia describes a change where the differentiated cells in a tissue are replaced by differentiated cells normally found in another organ or tissue type. It can occur almost anywhere in the body although it is most commonly seen in the esophagus, stomach, bladder, breast, ovary, and endometrium. The causes of this change vary depending on the tissue involved. Common triggers include chronic irritation, inflammation, infection, and changes in the local microenvironment. In general, this change is a way for the body to adapt to stress or injury.

Metaplasia on its own is a non-cancerous change. However, there are different types of metaplasia and some types can increase the risk of developing cancer over time. For example, intestinal metaplasia in the esophagus is associated with an increased risk of developing a type of esophagus cancer called adenocarcinoma.

Common types of metaplasia include:

About this article

Doctors wrote this article to assist you in reading and comprehending your pathology report. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about this article or your pathology report. To get a comprehensive introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

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Atlas of pathology
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