October 17, 2023
In pathology, the term well differentiated is used to describe a malignant (cancerous) tumour made up of cells that look very similar to normal, healthy cells. The degree of differentiation is important because it is used to determine the tumour grade. In most areas of the body, well differentiated tumours are considered low grade. In contrast, poorly differentiated and undifferentiated tumours are considered high grade. Compared to high grade tumours, low grade tumours tend to be less aggressive, are less likely to metastasize (spread) to lymph nodes and other parts of the body, and are associated with better prognosis. Pathologists make this diagnosis after examining tissue under a microscope.
This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report.