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Title: Adenoma  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cystadenoma, Prolactinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Adrenal insufficiency, Colorectal cancer
Collection: Anatomical Pathology, Glandular and Epithelial Neoplasia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Micrograph of a tubular adenoma (left of image), a type of colonic polyp and a precursor of colorectal cancer. Normal colorectal mucosa is seen on the right of the image. H&E stain.
Classification and external resources
Specialty Oncology
ICD-10 D12, D35.0, D34, D35.2, and others
ICD-9-CM 211.3, 211.5,223.0, 226, 227.0,
ICD-O M8140/0
MeSH D000236

An adenoma (from adrenal glands, pituitary gland, thyroid, prostate, and others. Some adenomas grow from epithelial tissue in nonglandular areas but express glandular tissue structure (as can happen in familial polyposis coli). Although adenomas are benign, over time they may transform to become malignant, at which point they are called adenocarcinomas. Most adenomas do not transform. But even while benign, they have the potential to cause serious health complications by compressing other structures (mass effect) and by producing large amounts of hormones in an unregulated, non-feedback-dependent manner (causing paraneoplastic syndromes). Some adenomas are too small to be seen macroscopically but can still cause clinical symptoms.


  • Histopathology 1
  • Locations 2
    • Colon 2.1
    • Renal 2.2
    • Adrenal 2.3
    • Thyroid 2.4
    • Pituitary 2.5
    • Parathyroid 2.6
    • Liver 2.7
    • Breast 2.8
    • Appendix 2.9
    • Bronchial 2.10
    • Sebaceous 2.11
    • Salivary Glands 2.12
  • Treatment 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Adenoma is a benign tumor of glandular tissue, such as the mucosa of stomach, small intestine, and colon, in which tumor cells form glands or gland like structures. In hollow organs (digestive tract), the adenoma grows into the lumen - adenomatous polyp or polypoid adenoma. Depending on the type of the insertion base, adenoma may be pedunculated (lobular head with a long slender stalk) or sessile (broad base).

The adenomatous proliferation is characterized by different degrees of cell dysplasia (atypia or loss of normal differentiation of epithelium) irregular cells with hyperchromatic nuclei, (pseudo)stratified nuclei, nucleolus, decreased mucosecretion, and mitosis. The architecture may be tubular, villous, or tubulo-villous. Basement membrane and muscularis mucosae are intact.



Adenomas of the colon, also called adenomatous polyps, are quite prevalent. They are found commonly at colonoscopy. They are removed because of their tendency to become malignant and to lead to colon cancer.


This is a tumor that is most often small and asymptomatic, and is derived from renal tubules. It may be a precursor lesion to renal carcinoma.


MRI scan T1 with fat saturation - adrenal adenoma

Adrenal adenomas are common, and are often found on the abdomen, usually not as the focus of investigation; they are usually incidental findings. About one in 10,000 is malignant. Thus, a biopsy is rarely called for, especially if the lesion is homogeneous and smaller than 3 centimeters. Follow-up images in three to six months can confirm the stability of the growth.

While some adrenal adenomas do not secrete hormones at all, often some secrete cortisol, causing Cushing's syndrome, aldosterone causing Conn's syndrome, or androgens causing hyperandrogenism.


About one in 10 people is found to have solitary thyroid nodules. Investigation is required because a small percentage of these is malignant. Biopsy usually confirms the growth to be an adenoma, but, sometimes, excision at surgery is required, especially when the cells found at biopsy are of the follicular type.


Pituitary adenomas are seen in 10% of neurological patients. A lot of them remain undiagnosed. Treatment is usually surgical, to which patients generally respond well. The most common subtype, prolactinoma, is seen more often in women, and is frequently diagnosed during pregnancy as the hormone progesterone increases its growth. Medical therapy with cabergoline or bromocriptine generally suppresses prolactinomas; progesterone antagonist therapy has not proven to be successful.


An adenoma of a parathyroid gland may secrete inappropriately high amounts of parathyroid hormone and thereby cause primary hyperparathyroidism.


See Hepatocellular adenoma. Hepatic adenomas are a rare benign tumour of the liver, which may present with hepatomegaly or other symptoms.


Breast adenomas are called fibroadenomas. They are often very small and difficult to detect. Often there are no symptoms. Treatments can include a needle biopsy, and/or removal.


Adenomas can also appear in the appendix. The condition is extremely rare. The most common version is called cystadenoma. They are usually discovered in the course of examination of the tissue following an appendectomy. If the appendix has ruptured and a tumor is present, this presents challenges, especially if malignant cells have formed and thus spread to the abdomen.


Bronchial adenomas are adenomas in the bronchi. They may cause carcinoid syndrome, a type of paraneoplastic syndrome.[1]


A sebaceous adenoma is a cutaneous condition characterized by a slow-growing tumour usually presenting as a pink, flesh-coloured, or yellow papule or nodule.

Salivary Glands

Also major and minor salivary gland adenomas are common; the parotid gland adenomas are more frequent tends to become adenocarcinomas.


A physician's response to detecting an adenoma in a patient will vary according to the type and location of the adenoma among other factors. Different adenomas will grow at different rates, but typically physicians can anticipate the rates of growth because some types of common adenomas progress similarly in most patients. Two common responses are removing the adenoma with surgery and then monitoring the patient according to established guidelines.

One common example of treatment is the response recommended by

  • Photos (colon adenoma) at Atlas of Pathology
  • Adrenal adenoma description at 00007 at CHORUS

External links

  1. ^ Table 6-5 in: Mitchell, Richard Sheppard; Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson. Robbins Basic Pathology. Philadelphia: Saunders.   8th edition.
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Winawer, S.; Fletcher, R.; Rex, D.; Bond, J.; Burt, R.; Ferrucci, J.; Ganiats, T.; Levin, T.; Woolf, S.; Johnson, D.; Kirk, L.; Litin, S.; Simmang, C.; Gastrointestinal Consortium, P. (2003). "Colorectal cancer screening and surveillance: Clinical guidelines and rationale—Update based on new evidence". Gastroenterology 124 (2): 544–560.  
  4. ^ Jarbol, D. E.; Kragstrup, J.; Stovring, H.; Havelund, T.; Schaffalitzky De Muckadell, O. B.; Deal, S. E.; Hoffman, B.; Jacobson, B. C.; Mergener, K.; Petersen, B. T.; Safdi, M. A.; Faigel, D. O.; Pike, I. M.; ASGE/ACG Taskforce on Quality in Endoscopy (2006). "Proton Pump Inhibitor or Testing for Helicobacter pylori as the First Step for Patients Presenting with Dyspepsia? A Cluster-Randomized Trial". The American Journal of Gastroenterology 101 (6): 1200–1208.  


See also


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