Evolution of microscopic colitis to giant cell colitis without significant intraepithelial lymphocytosis or thickened collagen plate

Int J Surg Pathol. 2015 May;23(3):225-9. doi: 10.1177/1066896914542124. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


Microscopic colitis (MC) is an umbrella term that encompasses lymphocytic colitis (LC) and collagenous colitis (CC). Several histological variants of these 2 entities exist; among them is the uncommon giant cell colitis (GCC), in which histiocytic giant cells (GCs) are present in background of CC or LC. We report the case of a 71-year-old woman complaining of watery diarrhea for several years that was diagnosed with CC. At follow-up, she developed giant cell colitis (GCC). Nine years later, a colectomy revealed a form of microscopic colitis in which significant intraepithelial lymphocytosis and collagen plate thickening have disappeared while GCs persisted with diffuse mononuclear cells inflammation of the lamina propria. Thinning of the collagen plate in association with GCs has been described previously. The case contributes the possibility of further evolution of MC into a pure giant cell colitis in which the prototypical manifestations of MC have all but disappeared.

Keywords: collagenous colitis; giant cell colitis; microscopic colitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colitis / pathology*
  • Female
  • Giant Cells / pathology*
  • Humans