Mucinous carcinoma is the cancer of epithelial cells that line skin and certain internal organs. The epithelial cells have the role to produce mucin that is a main component of mucus. Mucinous adenocarcinoma is a cancerous tumor of the appendix or colon. This type of tumor, even if rare in occurrence, is among the most common types of appendix cancer that accounts for about 37 percent of all appendix cancers. The inside of the appendix is lined with a thin layer of cells that normally die off at the same rate they reproduce. However, in the case of tumors, they create a mass of cells because they start to reproduce faster than they die off. This tumor or mass of cells will produce large mucus amounts.
In the appendix can occur different types of mucus producing tumors that are benign or cancerous. Mucinous Aaenocarcinoma is among the cancerous type of appendix tumors. Cancerous tumors often invade normal tissue or spread to other body areas. The tumor may release cells into the abdomen. The released cells adhere to the peritoneal surfaces and grow into new tumors that can produce very large amounts of thick mucus. This can cause the abdomen to become bloated.
Mucinous adenocarcinoma is considered a high-grade cancerous tumor and it can invade soft tissues and organs, grow at fast rates and pose a high risk of metastasis. The cancerous cells can spread to the liver, lymph nodes, and lung. Extensive spread in the abdomen of the mucous-producing tumors is called in medical terms Peritoneal Mucinous Carcinomatosis. This medical complication commonly recur after treatment.
The first symptom of mucinous adenocarcinoma can be appendicitis. The tumor may also form masses in the pelvis or in the abdomen, or lead to an increase in size of the abdomen. In women the tumor often presents as an ovarian mass, while in men the first symptom is sometimes an inguinal hernia.
Treatment for this tumor depends on whether it is cofined to the appendix, If the appendix has not ruptured the treatment methods are right hemicolectomy and appendectomy that surgically remove up to half of the right side of the colon and the apendix. In case that the tumor has extensively spread Treatment into the abdomen, the treatment is cytoreduction surgery that removes tumor implants and mucous from the abdominal cavity, followed by peritoneal chemotherapy. Chemotherapy given into a vein may also be used. The chemeoteraphy combines drugs that are active against colon cancer. The treatments are given for four consecutive weeks once a week, followed by a two week break period. These cycles of six weeks can be repeated in case that there are signs of improvement. There are also trials with newer drugs added to this combination, such as Celecoxib and anti-VEGF.
Among the risk factors of this medical condition is age. The disease occurs most commonly in people who are in their 6th decade of life.
Prognosis for this appendix cancerous tumor depends on its grade of malignancy of the success of removal surgeries for all metastasized tumors in the abdomen. If the tumors have spread beyond the appendix, studies have reported a five year survival rate for approximately 50 percent of patients treated with cytoreduction surgery combined with peritoneal chemotherapy.