PURPOSE: To examine clinical characteristics of colorectal cancers of rare histologic types compared with adenocarcinomas. METHODS: Review of a population-based registry with complete ascertainment. RESULTS: There were 7,422 colorectal cancers, 4,900 (66 percent) colonic and 2,522 (34 percent) rectal. Two hundred fifty-five cancers (3 percent) were of nonadenocarcinoma varieties including 75 (33 percent) squamous, 74 (33 percent) malignant carcinoids, 37 (16 percent) transitional cell-like, 25 (11 percent) lymphomas, 9 (4 percent) sarcomas, and 2 (0.9 percent) melanomas. Sixty (1.2 percent) of the colon cancers occurred in the appendix, and proportionately more carcinoids accounted for these tumors. Compared with adeno-carcinomas, colonic and rectal carcinoids and colonic lymphomas accounted for a larger proportion of cancers in the younger age groups. The elderly had proportionately fewer colonic carcinoids. Colonic carcinoids, rectal squamous-cell cancers, and rectal transitional cell-like cancers were more common in women. Colonic lymphomas had a worse prognosis than adenocarcinomas. Survival was better with colonic and rectal carcinoids and rectal transitional cell-like cancers than with adenocarcinomas. CONCLUSIONS: Colorectal cancers of histologic varieties other than adenocarcinoma have distinctive epidemiologic and clinical traits.
- Transitional cell
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