Primary intestinal-type glandular lesions of the vagina: clinical, pathologic, and immunohistochemical features of 14 cases ranging from benign polyp to adenoma to adenocarcinoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 2014 May;38(5):593-603. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000157.


Primary intestinal-type glandular lesions of the vagina are rare. We report a series of 14 lesions, including 1 intestinal-type polyp without neoplastic features, 3 adenomas (2 with high-grade dysplasia), and 10 adenocarcinomas. Patients ranged in age from 20 to 86 years (mean 60 y) and presented with vaginal bleeding or a mass. No history of diethylstilbestrol exposure, adenosis, or endometriosis was elicited in any patient. The lesions were mostly polypoid, small (0.8 to 2.0 cm), and located in the posterior (6 cases) and lower (7 cases) vagina. One carcinoma metastasized to a para-aortic lymph node; the others were confined to the vagina. The neoplasms exhibited histologic features identical to those seen in primary large intestinal tumors, including variable numbers of goblet cells and in 1 case neuroendocrine cells. Five of the adenocarcinomas contained areas consistent with a precursor adenoma. In 3 cases, a benign urothelium-lined duct was adjacent to the lesion, and in 2 patients benign intestinal-type epithelium was present; no other potential benign precursor lesions were seen. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on 6 cases; the tumors were positive for CDX-2 (6/6), CK20 (5/6), CEA (5/5), CK7 (4/6), and CA-125 (2/4) and were negative for ER (0/6) and p16 (0/2). Clinical outcome data were available in 3 patients with adenocarcinomas; 1 died of disease in <1 year, and 2 were alive with no evidence of disease at 2 and 7 years. The pertinent literature is reviewed, and the potential origin and differential diagnosis of these lesions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenoma / metabolism
  • Adenoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyps / metabolism
  • Polyps / pathology*
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Vaginal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor