A rectal carcinoma, including primary an adenosquamous and a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), is a very rare disease, accounting for 0.025% to 0.20% of all large-bowel malignant tumors. Because SCCs have a higher mortality than adenosquamous carcinomas, determining whether the primary rectal cancer exhibits an adenomatous component or a squamous component is important. While differentiating between these 2 components, especially in poorly differentiated rectal cancer, is difficult, specific immunohistochemical stains enable accurate diagnoses. Here, we report the use of immunohistochemical stains to distinguish between the adenomatous and the squamous components in 2 patients with low rectal cancer, a 58-year-old man and a 73-year-old woman, who were initially diagnosed using the histopathologic results for a poorly differentiated carcinoma. These data suggest that using these immunohistochemical stains will help to accurately diagnose the type of rectal cancer, especially for poorly differentiated carcinomas, and will provide important information to determine the proper treatment for the patient.
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