This article has the purpose to provide you information on what differentiated carcinoma is and some differentiated carcinoma facts. To be able to understand what the term differentiated carcinoma refers to it is crucial to first understand how healthy cells behave in the organism.
The normal, healthy cells take various shapes and form to be able to function as part of an organ. The cancerous cells do not become differentiated and they become disorganized and they present less uniform nuclei. The Bloom-Richardson grade uses cell differentiation as a method of classification of carcinomas. According to the Bloom-Richardson grade, carcinomas are may be classified into well differentiated, moderately differentiated and poorly differentiated cancer depending on the degree of differentiation of the cancerous cells.
Nearly all types of differentiated cells may become cancer cells. The two main factors that make the difference between normal cells and cancer cells are immortalization and loss of contact inhibitions. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells do not die but transform for an indefinite period of time. On the other hand, cancer cell never stop growing.
The grade of the cancer is thus established based on how well developed or mature the cancer cells look under the microscope. If the cancer cells have a more normal look and resemble healthy cells it is more likely that they will behave as a normal cell. Therefore, the grade of cancer is low when the cancerous cells look normal but the more abnormal they are, the higher the grade of cancer and the worse prognosis for the patient.
Cancer grades range from 1 to 3, where 1 is the lowest grade meaning the tumor is a well differentiated carcinoma. Grade 2 is specific for moderately differentiated carcinoma and grade 3 for poorly differentiated carcinoma. The grades associates to cancer can be useful indicators for treatment plans and may provide information on whether treatment was effective or not. Grade 1 cancer is usually less aggressive and unlikely to spread to other organs or tissues of the body. Grade 3 carcinoma is the most aggressive type of cancer.
Poorly differentiated cells look primitive, disorganized and immature and they are more likely to divide rapidly and spread to surrounding tissues and organs. These cells do not specialize. For example, poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma (cancer that starts in the glandular tissue) do not resemble the normal glands and are usually identified by the fact that they stain positive for the substance the glands produce (mucin). These cells appear in different forms including the gland forming or papillary and they are solid. Unlike poorly differentiated cells, the well differentiated cells have a similar appearance to the normal cells. They are less likely to spread and invade surrounding tissue and they are more responsible to cancer treatment. This is mainly due to the fact that the cells are well differentiated in an early stage.
These are only few of the differentiated carcinoma facts and what readers must remember is by what means they are related to the grades of cancer.
More about cancer: Cancer Syndrome | Renal Carcinoma | Well Differentiated Carcinoma