Human body is made up of different type of cells and one of them is signet cells. Skin cells or epithelial cells are used to make the lining of skin at both ends; inside and outside and these are usually known as glandular cells and named as signet cells. And the cancer in these cells is called as signet ring cell carcinoma because under microscope the cancerous cells look like signet rings.
This type of cancer is considered a rare form of highly malignant adenocarcinoma which leads to the production of mucin and it is not that common as compare to other cancer types. It usually develop in the glandular cells of stomach but can also be found in other organs such as; breast, bowel, lung, pancreas, and bladder. It is also named after the organ in which it develops as well as on the type of cells such as the growth in stomach will be named as signet cell stomach carcinoma.
This type is considered to be more aggressive and hard to treat as compare to the adenocarcinoma. This is highly metastatic in nature and it is suggested in many studies that when this type of cancer is seen in breasts then the presence should also be considered in the gastric area.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma Symptoms
Symptoms vary from location to location at which the cancerous cells are developed but the most common signs and symptoms are listed below;
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely.
- Appearance of blood in the stools either very dark or bright red in color.
- Narrower stools than the usual size.
- Frequent gas pains or cramps.
- Feeling of fullness or frequent bloating.
- Weight loss with no known reason.
- Nausea or vomiting.
These symptoms do not appear in the very start of the disease so the screening tests are highly recommended in this case. As this disease mostly occur in the elderly so it is very important to get screened frequently after 50 years of age.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma Diagnosis
No appearance of symptoms in the early stage of the disease make it difficult to diagnose. Late diagnosis leads to the worsening of the condition and making the management very difficult. Meanwhile, there are few tests that have been used for its detection such as colonoscopy and fecal occult blood test which is usually performed to check the blood in the stool. For the future reference it has been stated that bone marrow metastases will definitely play a significant role in the diagnosis and management of the disease.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma Causes
Usually this condition is considered to be inherited and involves the genetic mutations typically in the CDH1 gene. There are some risk factors which have been counted for this disease but these are not studied properly for this particular condition, such as; smoking, salt-preserved food and autoimmune gastritis.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma expectancy
Late appearance of the symptoms does not allow the early stage management of the disease leading to the lower rates of successful treatments leading to shorter survival. In this case morbidity rate gets higher and compromise the patient’s quality of life.
Signet ring cell carcinoma (SRCC) is not properly defined in terms of prognosis as its chemo-sensitivity with the drug therapy and advanced staged detection leads to the poor prognosis. Another reason has also been stated in one study which focuses its complicated tumor biology leading to the further research.
The life expectancy rates vary with the site of cancer growth and SRCC in stomach is considered to have the worst prognosis when it comes to comparison with other cell types. Meanwhile the SRCC in bladder is very rare and has poor survival rate as in this case proper treatment leads to the promising long-term survival of 90 months. At the colorectal site poor prognosis is stated due to detection of symptoms at advance stage and average survival rate is considered to be between 20 and 45 months.
Signet Ring Cell Carcinoma Treatment
Chemotherapy is usually considered the first option for this disease but it has proven to be the least effective for the SRCC resulting in lower survival rates. These cancerous cells are very aggressive in growth as compare to non-signet cells and the addition of late detection makes it only worse.
Combination of chemotherapy includes; 5-Fluorouracil, Cisplatin with or without the addition of Etoposide. There are some new drugs such as Taxol and Gemcitabine which are still under investigation.
But the treatment varies from site to site at which signet ring cell cancer grows. As in the case of stomach cancer surgery is considered as the better option than chemotherapy. But the choice of surgical procedure depends upon the location of cancer in the gastric region.