Filiform serrated adenomas: a clinicopathologic and immunophenotypic study of 18 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2007 Aug;31(8):1238-45. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e31802d74c0.


In this study, we describe a previously uncharacterized type of adenomatous polyp of the colorectum that shows prominent, thin, elongated projections of neoplastic epithelium with a serrated contour, which we have termed "filiform serrated adenoma" (SA). Routinely processed polypectomy specimens from 18 patients with filiform SA and 23 controls with traditional (nonfiliform) SA were evaluated for their clinical and pathologic features, and immunohistochemically stained for a variety of markers (O-methylguanine methyltransferase, MLH1, MSH2, CDX2, nuclear beta-catenin, p53, and Ki-67) designed to evaluate their molecular and proliferative characteristics. DNA was extracted from the paraffin-embedded materials, amplified by polymerase chain reaction, and analyzed for microsatellite instability, BRAF, K-ras, and p53 mutational status. Five cases contained sufficient non-neoplastic tissue for dissection and DNA extraction, allowing analysis of loss of heterozygosity. The study group consisted of 7 males and 11 females of mean age 64 years (range: 42 to 89 y). All 18 filiform SAs were located in the left colon, including 15 (83%) that occurred in the rectum, compared with 43% of the control group (P=0.03). Filiform SAs were also larger (1.6 cm) than SAs (mean: 1.2 cm, P=0.02), but no other clinical differences were noted. Most (56%) filiform SAs contained marked stromal edema and tall nonmucinous cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm (61%). High-grade dysplasia was present in 4/18 (22%) cases. Four (22%) filiform SAs also contained nonserrated adenomatous elements with a villous (3 cases) or tubular (1 case) growth pattern. Two (11%) cases contained adjacent areas of sessile SAs and 4 (22%) had hyperplastic areas. None of the polyps in the control group showed stromal edema, high-grade dysplasia, or mixed elements. Polyps in both groups demonstrated comparable staining patterns for O-methylguanine methyltransferase, MLH-1, MSH-2, CDX2, beta-catenin, and Ki-67, and none showed increased nuclear p53 expression. Low-frequency microsatellite instability was present in 5/12 (42%) filiform SAs, 7/12 (58%) were microsatellite stable. Mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway abnormalities were present in 71% of the cases [7/14 (50%) with BRAF and 3/14 (21%) with K-ras mutations]. Four cases showed silent p53 mutations upon direct sequencing and 4 revealed loss of heterozygosity at the loci evaluated, including 1 at D5S346 [adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene], 1 at D17S250 (p53 gene), and 2 at MYCL (chromosome 1p34). We conclude that filiform SA potentially represents an unusual variant of SA with a predilection for the left colon, particularly the rectum.

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps / chemistry
  • Adenomatous Polyps / genetics
  • Adenomatous Polyps / pathology*
  • Adenomatous Polyps / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Epithelial Cells / chemistry
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Genes, p53 / genetics
  • Genes, ras / genetics
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Genetic Markers
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf