RE: [Histonet] carcinoma vs. adenocarcinoma

From:Kemlo Rogerson


Well an adenocarcinoma is a carcinoma of glandular cells; usually, but not
always, illustrated by cells with a malignant nucleus eccentrically placed.
The cytoplasm is whispy and may be vacuolated (not always) and the cells may
be arranged in three dimensional clumps (not always); you may or may not
notice a 'glandular' arrangement to the clump and there maybe a lack of
polarity to the nuclear direction (they are pointing in different
directions), there may be variation in nuclear size (anisonucleosis) with
hyperchromasia (dark staining chromatin) or not.

A carcinoma (if you are thinking of a squamous lesion) has usually a
centrally placed malignant nucleus with 'hard' cytoplasm (sometimes
keratinised, sometimes not). The cells have a tendency to be in 'sheets' but
not always; anisonucleosis and hyperchromasia may also be exhibited or not.

Depends how well differentiated the tumour is I suppose as a very poorly
differentiated adenocarcinoma may look very similar to a very poorly
differentiated carcinoma (squamous). Undifferentiated adeno and squamous
carcinomas can look identical, or not! This is a very simplistic

IMHO as a mere Cytologist. If the above were true all the time, then
Cytology would be easy most of the time.

Kemlo Rogerson
Pathology Manager
Ext  3311
DD   01934 647057
Mob 07749 754194

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Sperry [] 
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 8:45 PM
Subject: [Histonet] carcinoma vs. adenocarcinoma

Can anyone explain to me in layman terms (I'm taking undergrad histology)
how to differentiate between a carcinoma and an adenocarcinoma?

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