Upper tract juvenile polyps in juvenile polyposis patients: dysplasia and malignancy are associated with foveolar, intestinal, and pyloric differentiation

Am J Surg Pathol. 2014 Dec;38(12):1618-26. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000283.


Patients with juvenile polyposis syndrome (JPS), a hereditary autosomal dominant hamartomatous polyposis syndrome, are at increased risk for colorectal adenocarcinoma. The upper gastrointestinal tract is less often involved by JPS than the colorectum, and, consequently, upper tract juvenile polyps (JPs) are not well studied. We reviewed upper endoscopies and corresponding biopsies in JPS patients documented in our Polyposis Registry. A total of 199 upper gastrointestinal biopsies from 69 endoscopies were available in 22 of 41 (54%) JPS patients. Thirteen of the 22 patients (59%) had ≥1 gastric JP; 5 also had 6 small bowel JPs. Gastric JP was identified as early as age 7 in a patient with an SMAD4 gene mutation. Two patients (9%) had high-grade dysplasia in gastric JP. Invasive adenocarcinoma was diagnosed in the gastrectomy specimen of 1 patient. Five patients had a huge gastric polyp burden; 3 underwent total gastrectomy. Three patients died of complications associated with extensive upper JP. Histologically, 8 of the 56 (14%) gastric JPs identified had dysplasia. All of the 8 polyps demonstrated intestinalized and pyloric gland differentiation intermixed with foveolar epithelium. Dysplasia was seen arising in all 3 types of epithelium. The flat gastric mucosa in 11 patients was unremarkable without inflammation or intestinal metaplasia. The 6 small bowel JPs had no dysplasia. Our findings suggest that JPS patients are at increased risk for gastric adenocarcinoma. Detection of malignancy in syndromic gastric JP indicates that the current screening procedures are insufficient in removal of precursor lesions to prevent progression to carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Polyposis / congenital*
  • Intestinal Polyposis / pathology
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / pathology*
  • Stomach / pathology*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Juvenile polyposis syndrome