Despite the rarity of colorectal poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma (Por) and signet-ring cell carcinoma (Sig), they are more frequent in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). However, little is known about these components of early colitis-associated cancer due to the difficulty of detection at an early stage. Here, we reviewed colitis-associated high-grade dysplasia/cancer with Por/Sig components within the submucosa among 103 lesions of 79 UC patients who presented between 1997 and 2017. In total, one Sig in situ, three intramucosal and two submucosal carcinomas (8.7%) were identified among 69 lesions within the submucosa. Depressed appearance, loss of crypt architecture and amorphous surface pattern suggested the presence of Por/Sig, rather than submucosal infiltration. All lesions were located in the rectosigmoid colon and included high-grade dysplasia. While the surrounding noncancerous mucosa expressed E-cadherin and MUC5AC, the expression of E-cadherin was reduced and the expression of MUC5AC was negative in all of the carcinomas except for the Sig in situ. The gastric type metaplasia associated with altered MUC5AC profiles may be a sign of the stepwise accumulation of molecular alterations, including TP53 defects and a reduced expression level of E-cadherin.
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