Desmoplastic response in biopsy specimens of early colorectal carcinoma is predictive of deep submucosal invasion

Dis Colon Rectum. 1998 Jul;41(7):896-900. doi: 10.1007/BF02235375.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of histopathology of biopsy specimens in predicting depth of infiltration in early colorectal carcinomas before treatment.

Methods: Early colorectal carcinomas that had been resected surgically or endoscopically between 1984 and 1995 were analyzed. Histopathologic findings, including differentiation of adenocarcinoma and a desmoplastic response were investigated.

Results: One hundred nine early colorectal carcinomas consisted of 73 lesions of carcinoma in situ, 13 submucosal carcinomas with minimum invasion, 8 lesions with moderate invasion, and 15 lesions with deep invasion. Of 73 carcinoma in situ lesions, 72 (approximately 99 percent) showed well-differentiated adenocarcinomas and no desmoplastic response. Twelve (92 percent) of 13 submucosal carcinomas with minimum invasion also revealed well-differentiated adenocarcinoma without a desmoplastic response. Sixty-three percent (5/8) of lesions with moderate invasion revealed well-differentiated adenocarcinoma. None of the lesions had a desmoplastic response. Among lesions with deep invasion, 73 percent (11/15) demonstrated moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma, and 11 lesions had a prominent desmoplastic response (73 percent; P < 0.01).

Conclusions: These results suggest that if histopathologic findings of biopsy specimens taken from them before treatment demonstrated adenocarcinoma associated with a desmoplastic response, the lesions had at least deep invasion carcinomas. These lesions should be resected surgically. Submucosal carcinomas with minimum invasion, which have no desmoplastic response, could be treated endoscopically.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests