Unusual forms of carcinoma of the urinary bladder

Hum Pathol. 1991 Oct;22(10):948-65. doi: 10.1016/0046-8177(91)90003-8.


Carcinomas of the urinary bladder, which differ histologically from the usual transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder, are reviewed. These tumors, which account for approximately 15% of all bladder carcinomas, have diverse microscopic appearances. They fall into four major categories: variant forms of urothelial (transitional cell) carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and undifferentiated carcinoma. In the first category, the most common are carcinomas with glandular or squamous differentiation. Less common, but more troublesome diagnostically, are variants in which the cells are spindle shaped (sarcomatoid carcinoma), form small cysts (microcystic carcinoma), or differentiate toward trophoblast. In other variants, the stroma has unusual features that may lead to diagnostic difficulty. These are carcinomas with pseudosarcomatous stroma, osseous or cartilaginous metaplasia, or osteoclast-type giant cells. Also reviewed are squamous cell carcinoma and its variant, verrucous carcinoma. Vesical adenocarcinoma has several variants, including signet-ring cell and clear cell types. Finally, the category of undifferentiated carcinoma, including small cell carcinoma, giant cell carcinoma, and lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma, is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / pathology
  • Humans
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*