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 [kahr″sĭ-no´mah] (pl. carcinomas, carcino´mata)
a malignant new growth made up of epithelial cells tending to infiltrate surrounding tissues and to give rise to metastases. A form of cancer, carcinoma makes up the majority of the cases of malignancy of the breast, uterus, intestinal tract, skin, and tongue.
adenocystic carcinoma (adenoid cystic carcinoma) carcinoma marked by cylinders or bands of hyaline or mucinous stroma separated or surrounded by nests or cords of small epithelial cells, occurring in the mammary and salivary glands, and mucous glands of the respiratory tract. Called also cylindroma.
alveolar carcinoma bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.
basal cell carcinoma the most common form of skin cancer, consisting of an epithelial tumor of the skin originating from neoplastic differentiation of basal cells, rarely metastatic but locally invasive and aggressive. It usually occurs as small pearly nodules or plaques on the face of an older adult, particularly on a sun-exposed area of someone with fair skin. It has been divided into numerous subtypes on the basis of clinical and histological characteristics.
basosquamous carcinoma carcinoma that histologically exhibits both basal and squamous elements.
bronchioalveolar carcinoma (bronchiolar carcinoma) (bronchioloalveolar carcinoma) (bronchoalveolar carcinoma) a variant type of adenocarcinoma of the lung, with columnar to cuboidal epithelial cells lining the alveolar septa and projecting into alveolar spaces in branching papillary formations. Called also alveolar carcinoma or adenocarcinoma and bronchiolar, bronchioloalveolar, or bronchoalveolar adenocarcinoma.
bronchogenic carcinoma any of a large group of carcinomas of the lung, so called because they arise from the epithelium of the bronchial tree. Four primary subtypes are distinguished: adenocarcinoma of the lung, large cell carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
cholangiocellular carcinoma a rare type of hepatocellular carcinoma arising from the cholangioles, consisting of two layers of cells surrounding a minute lumen. Called also bile duct carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma.
chorionic carcinoma choriocarcinoma.
colloid carcinoma mucinous carcinoma.
cylindrical cell carcinoma carcinoma in which the cells are cylindrical or nearly so.
embryonal carcinoma a highly malignant germ cell tumor that is a primitive form of carcinoma, probably of primitive embryonal cell derivation; it usually arises in a gonad and may be found either in pure form or as part of a mixed germ cell tumor.
epidermoid carcinoma squamous cell carcinoma.
giant cell carcinoma a poorly differentiated, highly malignant, epithelial neoplasm containing many large multinucleated tumor cells, such as occurs in the lungs.
hepatocellular carcinoma primary carcinoma of the liver cells with hepatomegaly, jaundice, hemoperitoneum, and other symptoms of the presence of an abdominal mass. It is rare in North America and Western Europe but is one of the most common malignancies in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and elsewhere. A strong association seems to exist with chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
Hürthle cell carcinoma a malignant Hürthle cell tumor.
carcinoma in si´tu a neoplasm whose tumor cells are confined to the epithelium of origin, without invasion of the basement membrane; the likelihood of subsequent invasive growth is presumed to be high.
large cell carcinoma a type of bronchogenic carcinoma of undifferentiated (anaplastic) cells of large size, a variety of squamous cell carcinoma that has undergone further dedifferentiation.
medullary carcinoma that composed mainly of epithelial elements with little or no stroma.
mucinous carcinoma an adenocarcinoma that produces significant amounts of mucin.
nasopharyngeal carcinoma a malignant tumor arising in the epithelial lining of the nasopharynx, occurring at high frequency in people of Chinese descent. The epstein-barr virus has been implicated as a causative agent.
non–small cell carcinoma a general term comprising all lung carcinomas except small cell carcinoma, and including adenocarcinoma of the lung, large cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
oat cell carcinoma a form of small cell carcinoma in which the cells are round or elongated and slightly larger than lymphocytes; they have scanty cytoplasm and clump poorly.
papillary carcinoma carcinoma in which there are papillary growths that are irregular in nature arising from otherwise normal tissue; it can occur in the thyroid gland, the breast, or the bladder. Called also papillocarcinoma.
renal cell carcinoma carcinoma of the renal parenchyma, composed of tubular cells in varying arrangements; called also clear cell carcinoma.
scirrhous carcinoma carcinoma with a hard structure owing to the formation of dense connective tissue in the stroma. Called also fibrocarcinoma.
carcinoma sim´plex an undifferentiated carcinoma.
small cell carcinoma a common, highly malignant form of bronchogenic carcinoma in the wall of a major bronchus, occurring mainly in middle-aged individuals with a history of tobacco smoking; it is radiosensitive and has small oval undifferentiated cells. Metastasis to the hilum and to mediastinal lymph nodes is common.
spindle cell carcinoma squamous cell carcinoma marked by development of rapidly proliferating spindle cells.
squamous cell carcinoma
1. carcinoma developed from squamous epithelium, having cuboid cells and characterized by keratinization. Initially local and superficial, the lesion may later invade and metastasize.
2. the form occurring in the skin, usually originating in sun-damaged areas or preexisting lesions.
3. in the lung, one of the most common types of bronchogenic carcinoma, generally forming polypoid or sessile masses that obstruct the airways of the bronchi. It usually occurs in middle-aged individuals with a history of smoking. There is frequent invasion of blood and lymphatic vessels with metastasis to regional lymph nodes and other sites. Called also epidermoid carcinoma.
transitional cell carcinoma a malignant tumor arising from a transitional type of stratified epithelium, usually affecting the urinary bladder.
verrucous carcinoma
1. a variety of squamous cell carcinoma that has a predilection for the buccal mucosa but also affects other oral soft tissue and the larynx. It is slow-growing and somewhat invasive.
2. Buschke-Löwenstein tumor, so called because it is histologically similar to the oral lesion.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

car·ci·no·ma (CA),

, pl.




(kar'si-nō'mă, -măz, kar'si-nō'mă-tă),
Any of various types of malignant neoplasm derived from epithelial cells, chiefly glandular (adenocarcinoma) or squamous (squamous cell carcinoma); the most commonly occurring kind of cancer.
[G. karkinōma, fr. karkinos, cancer, + -oma, tumor]

Like other malignant neoplasms, carcinomas display uncontrolled cellular proliferation, anaplasia (regression of cells and tissues to more primitive or undifferentiated states), and a tendency to invade adjacent tissues and to spread to distant sites by metastasis. A carcinoma arises from a single cell with a genome that either contains an inherited aberration (oncogene) or has acquired one as a consequence of spontaneous mutation or damage by a chemical toxin (carcinogen), radiation, viral infection, chronic inflammation, or other external assault. Probably a complex sequence of biochemical and genetic injuries must take place for a carcinoma to develop. Some carcinomas (for example, prostate, breast) depend partly on the presence of hormones (androgen, estrogen) for their proliferation. Carcinomas are graded histologically according to evidence of invasiveness and changes that indicate anaplasia (loss of polarity of nuclei, loss of orderly maturation of cells particularly in squamous cell types, variation in the size and shape of cells, hyperchromatism of nuclei with clumping of chromatin, and increase in the nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio). Carcinomas may be undifferentiated, or the neoplastic tissue may resemble to varying degrees one of the types of normal epithelium. Carcinomas can secrete a variety of hormonelike factors capable of inducing systemic (paraneoplastic) effects (for example, hypercalcemia, thrombophlebitis). The most common site of origin of carcinoma in both sexes is the skin; the second most common site in men is the prostate and in women the breast. However, the most frequently lethal carcinoma in both sexes is bronchogenic carcinoma.

Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n. pl. carcino·mas or carcino·mata (-mə-tə)
An invasive malignant tumor derived from epithelial tissue that tends to metastasize to other areas of the body.

car′ci·no′ma·toid (-nō′mə-toid′) adj.
car′ci·nom′a·tous (-nŏm′ə-təs, -nō′mə-) adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Oncology A malignant neoplasm of epithelial and occasionally neuroepithelial origin; carcinomas are divided according to tissue of origin–eg, glands–adenoCA, squamous epithelium–SCC, and bladder epithelium–transitional cell carcinoma; carcinomas may metastasize to bone, liver, lung, brain. See Acinic cell carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Adrenocortical carcinoma, Anaplastic carcinoma, Anaplastic carcinoma of pancreas, Anaplastic carcinoma of thyroid, Basal cell carcinoma, Basaloid carcinoma, Carcinoma in situ, CASTLE, Chromophobe cell carcinoma, Clear cell carcinoma, Collecting duct carcinoma, Colloid carcinoma, Ductal carcinoma in situ, Duct cell carcinoma, Embryonal carcinoma, Endometrial carcinoma, Epithelial carcinoma, Epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma, Fibrolamellar carcinoma, Follicular carcinoma, Giant cell carcinoma, Glassy cell carcinoma, Hürthle cell carcinoma, Inflammatory carcinoma, In situ carcinoma, Intraductal carcinoma, Intramucosal carcinoma, Juvenile carcinoma, Krebs' carcinoma, Large cell carcinoma, Large cell undifferentiated carcinoma of lung, Laryngeal carcinoma, Lobular carcinoma in situ, Medullary carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, Microinvasive carcinoma, Minimal deviation adenocarcinoma of cervix, 'Murky cell' carcinoma, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Non-small cell carcinoma of lung, Oat cell carcinoma, Ovarian small cell carcinoma–hypercalcemic type, Pleomorphic carcinoma, Pleomorphic lobular carcinoma, Renal cell carcinoma, Sarcomatoid carcinoma, Scirrhous carcinoma, Secretory carcinoma, Small cell carcinoma, Spindle cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Stump carcinoma, Superficial spreading carcinoma, Terminal duct carcinoma, Transglottic carcinoma, Transitional cell carcinoma, Tubular carcinoma, Undifferentiated carcinoma, Verrucous carcinoma.  Cf Cancer.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(CA, Ca), pl. carcinomas, pl. carcinomata (kahr'si-nō'mă, -măz, -mă-tă)
Any of the various types of malignant neoplasm derived from epithelial tissue, occurring more frequently in the skin and large intestine in both sexes, the lung and prostate gland in men, and the lung and breast in women. Carcinomas are identified histologically on the basis of invasiveness and the changes that indicate anaplasia, i.e., loss of polarity of nuclei, loss of orderly maturation of cells (especially in squamous cell type), variation in the size and shape of cells, hyperchromatism of nuclei (with clumping of chromatin), and increase in the nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio. Carcinomas may be undifferentiated, or the neoplastic tissue may resemble (to varying degrees) one of the types of normal epithelium.
[G. karkinōma, fr. karkinos, cancer, + -oma, tumor]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(kar?sin-o'ma ) [ carcin- + -oma]
A malignant tumor that occurs in epithelial tissue and may infiltrate local tissues or produce metastases. It may affect almost any organ or part of the body and spread by direct extension, through lymphatics, or through the bloodstream. The causes vary with tumor type.

Patient care

Optimal patient care includes: identifying and explaining to patient and family the type of cancer and its typical natural history; options for treatment, side effects of treatments, expected response of the cancer to the treatment, best predictions for recovery and life expectancy, availability of clinical trials, alternative and complementary therapies, and the potential benefit of referral to specialty cancer centers.

acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas

A rare carcinoma that arises from pancreatic cells that manufacture digestive proteins, such as lipase, chymotrypsin, or alpha-1-antitrypsin.

alveolar cell carcinoma

A type of lung carcinoma.
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basal cell carcinoma

Abbreviation: BCC
The most common human cancer, typically found on skin exposed to sun or other forms of ultraviolet light. Although it is sometimes locally invasive, it rarely metastasizes to other organs. Typically it begins as a small, shiny papule. The lesion enlarges to form a whitish border around a central depression or ulcer that may bleed. When the lesion reaches this stage, it is often called a rodent ulcer. After biopsy, the removal method used is determined by the size, location, and appearance of the lesion. Synonym: basal cell epithelioma; epithelial cancer See: illustration

bronchioloalveolar carcinoma

A relatively rare form of non-small cell lung cancer consisting of columnar cells, and in which the tumor arises in the periphery of the lung within the septal borders of the alveoli, which the tumor tends to preserve. The tumor cells frequently produce mucin.

bronchogenic carcinoma

Lung cancer.

chorionic carcinoma


choroid plexus carcinoma

A cancer that arises from the cells that line the fluid-filled cavities (ventricles) of the brain.

carcinoma of the colon

See: colorectal cancer

colorectal carcinoma

Colorectal cancer.

carcinoma cuniculatum

Any slowly growing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, typically presenting as a gradually enlarging warty tumor.

ductal carcinoma in situ of breast

See: ductal carcinoma in situ of breast

embryonal carcinoma

An aggressive germ cell tumor that may metastasize widely. It can occur in young adults of either sex.

epidermoid carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma.

carcinoma erysipelatoides

Metastatic spreading of cancer, usually from an internal organ to the skin, to which the spreading tumor gives a red, inflammatory appearance.

giant cell carcinoma

Carcinoma marked by the presence of unusually large cells.

glandular carcinoma


keratinocyte carcinoma

A cancer arising from cells in the epidermis. It includes basal cell carcinomas, keratoacanthomas, and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin. Most keratinocyte carcinomas arise in sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the ears, the temples, the forehead or the nose.

carcinoma in situ

Abbreviation: CIS
Malignant cell changes in the epithelial tissue that do not extend beyond the basement membrane.

medullary carcinoma

Carcinoma in which there is a predominance of cells and little fibrous tissue.

melanotic carcinoma

Carcinoma containing melanin.

mucinous carcinoma

Carcinoma in which the glandular tissue secretes mucin.

neuroendocrine carcinoma

Any of a diverse group of malignancies, such as carcinoid, islet cell tumors, neuroblastoma, and small-cell carcinomas of the lung. All have dense core granules and produce polypeptides that can be identified by immunochemical methods.

oat cell carcinoma

A poorly differentiated carcinoma of the bronchus that contains small oat-shaped cells.
Synonym: small cell carcinoma

carcinoma of pancreas

Pancreatic cancer.

pancreatic carcinoma

Pancreatic cancer.

papillary carcinoma of the thyroid

See: papillary carcinoma of the thyroid

renal cell carcinoma

A carcinoma that arises from the proximal tubular cells of the kidney. In 2008 the American Cancer Society estimated there would be about 56,700 new patients diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma and about 13,700 deaths from it. Synonym: hypernephroma; kidney cancer


Because of its location in the retroperitoneum, renal cell carcinoma may grow to a relatively large size before it manifests obvious symptoms. The most common findings are blood in the urine (hematuria), flank pain, or a flank mass. Some patients develop fevers, weight loss, or symptoms caused by hormones excreted by the tumor. These hormones (parathyroid-like hormone or erythropoietin) occasionally cause hypercalcemia or abnormal increases in the red blood cell count (erythrocytosis).


Surgical removal of the affected kidney may be curative for those patients whose tumor has not spread outside the perirenal fascia. Treatment options are less successful for patients with metastatic disease because renal cell carcinomas are relatively resistant to chemotherapy.

sarcomatoid carcinoma

A carcinoma that contains both epithelial and mesenchymal components. This cancer may arise from cells in the kidney, urinary bladder, or lung.

scirrhous carcinoma

Hard cancer.

small cell carcinoma

Oat cell carcinoma.
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squamous cell carcinoma

Carcinoma that develops primarily from squamous cells, e.g., of the skin or in the mouth, lungs, bronchi, esophagus, or cervix. Synonym: epidermoid carcinoma See: illustration

thymic carcinoma

A carcinoma found in the anterior mediastinum, usually a squamous cell carcinoma, spindle cell carcinoma, or lymphoepithelioma. Many of these tumors release chemically active substances that cause paraneoplastic syndromes.

transitional cell carcinoma

A carcinoma that originates in cells that line the urinary tract, e.g., in cells that line the inner kidney, the ureters, or the urinary bladder.
Synonym: urothelial carcinoma

urothelial carcinoma

Transitional cell carcinoma.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


Any CANCER of a surface layer (EPITHELIUM) of the body. Carcinomas are by far the commonest form of cancer and occur on any epithelium especially those of the glandular tissue of the breast, the skin (epidermis), the large bowel, the air tubes (bronchi) of the lungs, and the womb (uterus). Compare SARCOMA.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


a malignant tumour of epithelial tissue. See CANCER.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005


A malignant tumour of the epithelium, the tissue that lines the skin and internal organs of the body. It tends to invade surrounding tissues and to metastasize to distant regions of the body via the lymphatic vessels or the blood vessels. It is a form of cancer. Example: carcinoma of the skin. See epithelioma; seborrhoeic keratosis.
basal cell carcinoma (BCC) A slow growing tumour derived from the basal cells of the epidermis of the skin. It is mainly located on the head and neck and most commonly on the eyelids, especially the lower eyelid. Old people who have had extensive sun exposure are primarily affected. It appears, initially, as a raised nodule with a pearly surface with small, dilated blood vessels on its surface and it may eventually become ulcerated (rodent ulcer) and invade other tissues but rarely metastasizes. Treatment includes surgical excision or cryotherapy.
sebaceous gland carcinoma A malignant tumour arising from the meibomian glands or occasionally from the glands of Zeis. It frequently affects the upper eyelids of old people. Initially the tumour resembles a chalazion or a chronic blepharitis. However, this tumour is aggressive and may invade the orbit. It may metastasize. Treatment usually consists of thorough surgical excision. See blepharitis; chalazion.
squamous cell carcinoma A malignant skin cancer that affects the eyelids and conjunctiva. It is aggressive and may metastasize. It occurs most commonly in old people who have had extensive sun exposure. Treatment consists mainly of surgical excision. See xeroderma pigmentosum.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann


(CA), pl. carcinomas, pl. carcinomata (kahr'si-nō'mă, -măz, -mă-tă)
Various types of malignant neoplasm derived from epithelial cells, chiefly glandular or squamous; most common type of cancer.
[G. karkinōma, fr. karkinos, cancer, + -oma, tumor]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about carcinoma

Q. Can any one give me information about Carcinoma of the pancreas? What is the prognosis for carcinoma of the pancreas? I want to know as much as I can information on carcinoma of the pancreas.

A. I’m sorry to say that 95% people that have pancreatic carcinoma do not survive. Apparently the area around it and the pancreas itself is without sensory nerves. That means that when it starts to be painful – it’s much too late…this is a silent killer.
Sorry for the bad news…

Q. Do japanese in the US still have high risk of stomach cancer? I was born in the US to parents that emigrated from Japan when they were in their late twenties. I know that people in Japan have a very high risk of stomach cancer. Does that mean that as an individual of Japanese origin I also have high risk, although I never were in Japan?

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Q. what is the most accurate pathological test to identify the primary source of a cystic mass in the neck? the mass was removed. Pathologist was unable to identify the source and diagnosed the mass as a branchilogic carcinmoa (which is extremely rare, if exists at all). Therefore, I am looking for the most updated test and examinations that can be applied to blocks of the mass and determine their origin (primary source)

A. Pathologic examinaions under a microscope are the most accurate ones there are, and sometimes even they don't help to identify the cell types. I do not have any other ideas on other tests you can do, and I believe you should follow the treatment your doctors will advise you based on this diagnosis they have made.

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