A clinicopathologic study of the eyes in familial adenomatous polyposis with extracolonic manifestations (Gardner's syndrome)

Am J Ophthalmol. 1990 Nov 15;110(5):550-61. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)77880-8.


The eyes of a 51-year-old woman with familial adenomatous polyposis and extracolonic manifestations (Gardner's syndrome) were obtained postmortem and studied by light microscopy and by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. We found a generalized abnormality in melanogenesis of the retinal pigment epithelium and at least three types of pigmented lesions. The histologic findings in one type of lesion were consistent with congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium or benign pigmented nevus of the retinal pigment epithelium. The other two types of lesion were most consistent with hamartomatous malformations of the retinal pigment epithelium featuring cellular hypertrophy, hyperplasia, and rarely retinal invasion and formation of a minute mushroom-shaped tumor. These histopathologic findings indicate a generalized effect of the familial adenomatous polyposis gene on the retinal pigment epithelium. This oncogene, which is responsible for tumor formation in the gastrointestinal tract, soft tissues, bone, and other locations in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, also leads to a generalized defect in melanogenesis and focal lesions of the retinal pigment epithelium.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / complications
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / ultrastructure*
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / complications
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / pathology*
  • Eye / ultrastructure*
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Gardner Syndrome / complications
  • Gardner Syndrome / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Melanocytes / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / ultrastructure
  • Pigmentation Disorders / complications
  • Pigmentation Disorders / genetics
  • Pigmentation Disorders / pathology


  • Melanins