Primary “signet ring cell” cancer of the prostate


“Signet ring cell” cancer of the prostate is a very rare and usually aggressive form of prostate cancer. It can occur in primary and secondary forms.

Warner et al. report that, among 29,783 cases of prostate cancer evaluated at the Mayo Clinic between January 15, 1970 and January 2, 2009, they were able to identify just nine patients who were treated for primary signet ring cell carcinoma of the prostate. By carrying out a detailed PubMed search of the English-language literature published between January 1, 1980, and January 1, 2010, they were able to identify a total of 42 cases. 

They report the following overall findings:

  • Average (mean) age at diagnosis was 68 years (range, 50-85 years).
  • Average (mean) PSA level at diagnosis was 95.3 ng/ml (range, 1.9-536.0 ng/ml).
  • 66 percent of the patients had non-stage IV carcinoma.
  • The most common Gleason score (in 33 percent of patients) was 8.
  • Average (mean) survival from time of diagnosis was 29 months.
  • The presence of a primary signet ring cell carcinoma of the prostate was best confirmed by
    • Negative findings on gastrointestinal work-up
    • positive stain for prostate-specific acid phosphatase
    • A negative result to a carcinoembryonic antigen test

For additional information about signet ring cell cancer of the prostate, we suggest the following resources:

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