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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Adenocarcinoma of the appendix


Other Names for this Disease
  • Colonic type adenocarcinoma
  • Cystadenocarcinoma
  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma
  • Nonmucinous adenocarcinoma
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

What is mucinous adenocarcinoma of the appendix?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is adenocarcinoma of the appendix?

Cancer of the appendix is very rare and is typically found incidentally during appendectomies, in about 1% of the cases. According to a report published by the National Cancer Institute, using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, appendix cancer account for about 0.4% of gastrointestinal tumors. There are several subytpes. The most common is the carcinoid type (66% of the total), with cyst-adenocarcinoma accounting for 20% and adenocarcinoma accounting for 10%. Then there are the rare forms of cancers which include adenocarcinoid, signet ring, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ganglioneuroma, and pheochromocytoma. Benign primary tumors are mainly “mucinous epithelial neoplasms”, also called adenomas, cystadenoma, and benign neoplastic mucocele. [1] Adenocarcinoma of the appendix is a epithelial cancer of the appendix.[2] The term 'epithelium' refers to cells that line hollow organs and glands and those that make up the outer surface of the body. Epithelial cells help to protect or enclose organs. Some produce mucus or other secretions.[3] Types of adenocarcinoma of the appendix include mucinous adenocarcinoma, non-mucinous adenocarcinoma, and signet cell carcinoma of appendix (which is the rarer involving only 4% of all the subtypes of appendix cancer).[2][4]
Last updated: 6/12/2015

Are there different types of adenocarcinoma of the appendix?

Yes. Types of adenocarcinoma of the appendix include mucinous adenocarcinoma also known as cystadenocarcinoma, and non-mucinous adenocarcinoma also known as colonic-type adenocarcinoma.[2] Another type is the 'signet cell carcinoma of appendix' which has worse prognosis. It has a high likelihood of having spread to adjacent organs (76%) by the time of diagnosis as compared to mucinous adenocarcinoma (63%) and the colonic type (37%).[4]
Last updated: 6/12/2015

How might adenocarcinoma of the appendix be diagnosed?

Adenocarcinoma of the appendix may be identified along with acute appendicitis.[2][4][5] Mucinous adenocarcinomas may also be found incidentally as a right sided cystic mass on an imaging study.[2]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

What are the symptoms of adenocarcinoma of the appendix?

The most common clinical symptom is acute appendicitis.[2][5] Other symptoms include a palpable abdominal mass, ascites (fluid buildup), peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity) due to a perforated appendix, and non-specific gastrointestinal or genitourinary symptoms such as bloating, vague abdominal pain, and tenderness.[4][5]
Last updated: 8/21/2009

How might adenocarcinoma of the appendix be treated?

Adenocarcinoma of the appendix can be treated surgically, often by hemicolectomy.[2][4][5] Appendicectomy may also be considered.[4][5] Adjuvant chemotherapy may be beneficial for more advanced disease.[5] There is a high incidence of secondary malignancy with adenocarcinomas of the appendix; as a result a careful pre- and post-operative evaluation is warranted.[5] For additional information visit Cancer.net oncologist-approved information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO): Appendix Cancer: Treatment Options
Last updated: 6/12/2015

What is the typical outlook for people with adenocarcinoma of the appendix?

Overall survival of adenocarcinoma of the appendix is approximately 60% at 5 years, however the prognosis depends largely on the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis.[2] We recommend that you speak with your healthcare provider to learn more regarding your personal prognosis.
Last updated: 8/21/2009

References
  • Ruoff C, Wanqing Zhi LH, Shahzad G, Gotlieb V & Wasif M. Cancers of the Appendix: Review of the Literatures. ISRN Oncology. June 26, 2011; 2011(2011):http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2011/728579/. Accessed 6/12/2015.
  • Sarosi GA, Turnage RH.. Miscellaneous topics. In: Feldman et al, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2006;
  • Epithelium. MedlinePlus. June 11, 2012; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002363.htm. Accessed 6/12/2015.
  • Ahmed K, Hoque R, El-Tawil S, Khan MS, George ML. Adenocarcinoma of the appendix presenting as bilateral ureteric obstruction. World J Surg Oncol. 2008 Feb 21;
  • Hu CC, Chang JJ, Chen TC, Yen CL, Chien RN. Colonoscopic feature of primary adenocarcinoma of the appendix. Intern Med. 2008;
Other Names for this Disease
  • Colonic type adenocarcinoma
  • Cystadenocarcinoma
  • Mucinous adenocarcinoma
  • Nonmucinous adenocarcinoma
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.