Squamoid morules in the pseudoinvasive foci of colonic polyp morphologically mimic invasive carcinoma

Hee Eun Lee, Vishal S. Chandan, Chung Ta Lee, Tsung Teh Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Colorectal adenomas can show focal squamous differentiation or squamoid morules. We describe histologic findings of squamoid morules in the pseudoinvasive foci of colorectal polyps mimicking invasive carcinoma. Five colonic polyps with squamoid morules in the pseudoinvasive foci were collected. Histologic review and immunostains for cytokeratin 5/6, p63, synaptophysin, and chromogranin were performed on cases with squamoid morules. Forty-seven consecutive colorectal polyps with pseudoinvasion, none of which showed squamoid morules by histology review, and their clinicopathologic features were compared with the cases containing squamoid morules. Cases with squamoid morules more frequently occurred in younger patients (P =.047) and were located in right colon (P =.027) than those without squamoid morules. Diagnosis of the polyps included tubular/tubulovillous adenoma with low-grade (with squamoid morules, n = 3; versus without squamoid morules, n = 29) or high-grade dysplasia (n = 2 versus n = 15) and sessile serrated adenoma (none versus n = 3). Squamoid morules formed nodules protruding into the lumen of glandular structures or partially replaced adenomatous glands without forming a discrete nodule. They also presented as solid nests showing a well-formed morular structure around the bottom of adenomatous glands or myxoinflammatory stroma. Importantly, squamoid morules often formed a pseudocribriform or solid nest sitting in the stroma of pseudoinvasive foci. All cases (n = 4) showed cytokeratin 5/6 positivity and p63 negativity in squamoid morules. Three and 1 of 4 cases showed focal positivity for synaptophysin and chromogranin, respectively, in squamoid morules. Squamoid morules in colonic adenomatous polyps can mimic invasive carcinoma when present in the pseudoinvasive foci. Pathologists should be aware of their presence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Pathology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Colorectal adenoma
  • Epithelial misplacement
  • Pseudoinvasion
  • Squamoid morule
  • Squamous metaplasia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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