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Dentaljuce Shorts: 500 words, 10 MCQs, on general medicine and surgery.

Mucinous Neoplasm

A mucinous neoplasm (also called colloid neoplasm) is an abnormal and excessive growth of tissue (neoplasia) characterised by the production of mucin, a fluid that can sometimes resemble thyroid colloid. These neoplasms originate from epithelial cells that line certain internal organs and the skin, which are responsible for mucin production.

When these neoplasms are malignant, they are referred to as mucinous carcinoma. Approximately 75% of ovarian mucinous tumours are benign, 10% are borderline, and 15% are malignant.

Micrograph of a mucinous adenocarcinoma of the colon. H&E stain.
Micrograph of a mucinous adenocarcinoma of the colon. H&E stain.

Mucinous Carcinoma


Over 40 percent of all mucinous carcinomas are colorectal. These carcinomas can also occur in other parts of the body, including the breast and skin.

Clinical Presentation

When mucinous carcinoma is found within the skin, it typically presents as a round, elevated, reddish, and sometimes ulcerated mass. These masses are usually located on the head and neck, and can be mistaken for benign skin lesions or other types of skin cancer.


Mucinous carcinoma of the breast: Gross pathology (upper left) of mucinous carcinoma shows gelatinous areas. Histopathology shows clusters or nests of tumour cells floating in pools of extracellular mucin.
Mucinous carcinoma of the breast: Gross pathology (upper left) of mucinous carcinoma shows gelatinous areas. Histopathology shows clusters or nests of tumour cells floating in pools of extracellular mucin.

Histologically, mucinous carcinomas are characterised by clusters or nests of tumour cells suspended in large pools of extracellular mucin. This appearance can be observed in various organs, including the breast, where the gross pathology reveals gelatinous areas.


Diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma generally requires a combination of clinical examination, imaging, and histopathological analysis. Imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs can help in identifying the extent of the lesion. Histopathological examination remains the gold standard, where the presence of mucin-producing tumour cells within a mucinous stroma is confirmed.


Treatment strategies for mucinous carcinoma depend on the location, size, and stage of the tumour. Standard treatment options include:

  • Surgery: The primary treatment for localised mucinous carcinomas. Surgical excision aims to remove the tumour and surrounding tissues to ensure complete removal.
  • Radiation Therapy: Often used post-operatively to eliminate any residual cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.
  • Chemotherapy: Used in advanced stages or when the tumour is inoperable. Chemotherapy can help reduce tumour size and control the spread of the disease.


The prognosis for patients with mucinous carcinoma varies based on several factors, including the tumour's location, stage at diagnosis, and the patient's overall health. Generally, mucinous carcinomas of the breast tend to have a better prognosis compared to those originating in the colon. Early detection and treatment significantly improve outcomes.


Understanding mucinous neoplasms and mucinous carcinomas is very important for healthcare professionals, including dentists preparing for general medicine and surgery exams. These neoplasms' unique histopathological features and clinical presentations underscore the importance of accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to manage this condition effectively.

Self-assessment MCQs (single best answer)

What is a mucinous neoplasm characterised by?

What percentage of ovarian mucinous tumours are benign?

Which organ has the highest occurrence of mucinous carcinoma?

How does mucinous carcinoma of the skin typically present?

What is the histological characteristic of mucinous carcinoma?

Which imaging technique is NOT typically used in the diagnosis of mucinous carcinoma?

What is the primary treatment strategy for localised mucinous carcinomas?

What is the role of radiation therapy in treating mucinous carcinoma?

Which factor is NOT considered in determining the prognosis of mucinous carcinoma?

Compared to mucinous carcinomas of the colon, how is the prognosis for mucinous carcinoma of the breast?


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