The presence of glandular epithelium in urinary tract biopsies poses a diagnostic challenge. Intestinal metaplasia of the urethra may be seen in many congenital, iatrogenic, and reactive conditions, as well as in association with malignant conditions such as urethral adenocarcinoma. We present a case of a 61 year-old woman presenting with microscopic hematuria. Successive biopsies showed glandular epithelium with focal atypia in close association with inflammation, but no overt malignancy. Only on surgical resection was the associated high grade adenocarcinoma revealed. When intestinal-type mucosa is present within a urinary tract biopsy, associated malignancy may be present only focally. Thorough sampling and consideration of the differential diagnosis is imperative.
Keywords: Urethral adenocarcinoma; intestinal metaplasia.