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Hum Pathol. 1998 May;29(5):543-6.

Prostatic adenocarcinoma with glomeruloid features.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


A wide variety of architectural patterns of adenocarcinoma may be seen in the prostate. We have recently encountered a hitherto-undescribed pattern of growth characterized by intraluminal ball-like clusters of cancer cells reminiscent of renal glomeruli, which we refer to as prostatic adenocarcinoma with glomeruloid features. To define the architectural features, frequency, and distribution of prostatic adenocarcinoma with glomeruloid features, we reviewed 202 totally embedded radical prostatectomy specimens obtained between October 1992 and April 1994 from the files of the Mayo Clinic. This series was supplemented by 100 consecutive needle biopsies with prostatic cancer from January to February 1996. Prostatic adenocarcinoma with glomeruloid features was characterized by round to oval epithelial tufts growing within malignant acini, often supported by a fibrovascular core. The epithelial cells were sometimes arranged in semicircular concentric rows separated by clefted spaces. In the radical prostatectomy specimens, nine cases (4.5%) had glomeruloid features. The glomeruloid pattern constituted 5% to 20% of each cancer (mean, 8.33%) and was usually located at the apex or in the peripheral zone of the prostate. Seven cases were associated with a high Gleason score (7 or 8), one with a score of 6, and one with a score of 5. All cases were associated with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia and extensive perineural invasion. Pathological stages included T2c (three cases), T3b (four cases), and T3c (two cases); one of the T3b cases had lymph node metastases (N1). Three (3%) of 100 consecutive routine needle biopsy specimens with cancer showed glomeruloid features, and this pattern constituted 5% to 10% of each cancer (mean, 6.7%). The Gleason score was 6 for two cases and 8 for one case. Two cases were associated with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and one case had perineural invasion. Glomeruloid features were not observed in any benign or premalignant lesions, including hyperplasia and intraepithelial neoplasia. Glomeruloid structures in the prostate represent an uncommon but distinctive pattern of growth that is specific for malignancy. Glomeruloid features may be a useful diagnostic clue for malignancy, particularly in some challenging needle biopsy specimens. This pattern of growth is usually seen in high-grade adenocarcinoma, often with extraprostatic extension. Further investigations are required to determine its independent predictive value and correlation with stage and Gleason score.

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