Poorly Cohesive Carcinoma of the Nonampullary Small Intestine: A Distinct Histologic Subtype With Prognostic Significance

Am J Surg Pathol. 2022 Apr 1;46(4):498-508. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001821.


Poorly cohesive carcinomas (PCCs) are neoplasms characterized by a dyshesive cell invasion pattern featuring single-cell or cord-like stromal infiltration. Although they have been extensively studied in the stomach and other digestive system organs, limited data regarding nonampullary small bowel poorly cohesive carcinomas (SB-PCCs) are hitherto available. The aims of our study were to analyze the clinicopathologic and immunophenotypical features of SB-PCCs (PCC pattern accounting for >50% of the neoplasm) and to compare them with small bowel adenocarcinomas (SBAs), not otherwise specified (SBAs-NOS) and with cancers with a histologically distinct PCC component accounting for 10% to 50% of the neoplasm (mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs). Fifteen SB-PCCs were identified and compared with 95 SBAs-NOS and 27 mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs. Most SB-PCCs (67%) were composed of <10% of signet-ring cells, and all but 1 SB-PCCs exhibited loss of membranous expression of E-cadherin. Compared with SBAs-NOS, SB-PCCs showed a significantly younger patient age at diagnosis, and a stronger association with Crohn disease, and both SB-PCCs and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs featured a higher rate of lymphovascular and perineural invasion and a lower percentage of mismatch repair-deficient cases. Importantly, the cancer-specific survival of SB-PCC (hazard ratio: 3.81; 95% confidence interval: 1.90-7.64; P<0.001) and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBA (4.12; 2.20-7.71; P<0.001) patients was significantly worse compared with SBAs-NOS cases. This study provides objective evidence to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2019 introduction of SB-PCC as a distinctive subtype of nonampullary SBA, by virtue of its unique clinical and histologic features, and suggests that both SB-PCCs and mixed-poorly-cohesive-glandular-SBAs should be separated from SBAs-NOS.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Signet Ring Cell* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Stomach Neoplasms* / pathology