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Leiomyoma of Colon

Last updated Oct. 26, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH


Microscopic pathology image showing a benign leiomyoma.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Colonic Leiomyoma
  • Mucosal Leiomyoma Colon Polyp
  • Mucosal Leiomyoma of Colon

What is Leiomyoma of Colon? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Leiomyoma of Colon is a rare, benign, non-cancerous lesion that forms in the colon (large intestine). Leiomyomas are not pre-malignant - meaning that individuals are not at an increased risk for developing colon cancer
  • It can occur in middle-aged and older men and women aged around 50 years
  • Leiomyoma of Colon lesions arise from smooth muscles and are usually less than 2 cm in size
  • A complete surgical removal of the lesion results in a cure. The prognosis of Leiomyoma of Colon is excellent and it does not recur after removal

Who gets Leiomyoma of the Colon? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Leiomyoma of Colon usually arises in older adults (both men and women are affected); most commonly in individuals aged 50 years and over
  • However, they can be found in a wide age range (38-85 years) of individuals
  • No racial or ethnic predilection is observed

What are the Risk Factors for Leiomyoma of Colon? (Predisposing Factors)

The specific risk factors of Leiomyoma of Colon are unknown. However, the general risk factors for formation of other types of colon polyps include:

  • Colonic epithelial injury (injury to the epithelial lining cells of the colon)
  • A diet which is high in fat and low in fiber
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Weight gain
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Leiomyoma of Colon? (Etiology)

The exact cause of Leiomyoma of Colon is unknown.

  • Researchers have documented certain genetic changes within the tumor. However, cases where these specific genetic mutations have been observed are rare. Thus, studies regarding genetic changes are currently limited
  • Some researchers believe that Leiomyoma of Colon are formed in response to colon injury or irritation

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Leiomyoma of Colon?

A majority of Leiomyoma of Colon do not cause any significant symptoms. They are found incidentally during a colonoscopy that may be performed for other health condition.

In rare cases, the following signs and symptoms of Leiomyoma of Colon may be present that include:

  • Presence of small lesions/polyps in the colon (typically less than 3 centimeters)
  • Bleeding from the anus
  • Mucus mixed with stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

How is Leiomyoma of the Colon Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Leiomyoma of Colon would involve:

  • Physical exam and evaluation of medical history
  • Screening colonoscopy: Leiomyomas of Colon are diagnosed during colonoscopies. A colonoscopy is a test that allows the physician to look at the inner lining of the colon and rectum. A typical colonoscopy involves using a thin, flexible tube (called a colonoscope), with an attached video camera, to view the colon and rectum. A polyp will show up as a bump and can be removed during the colonoscopy and sent for testing
  • A tissue biopsy of the tumor (polyp) is performed and sent to a laboratory for a pathological examination
    • A pathologist examines the biopsy under a microscope. If it is indeed a polyp, a distinct appearance is noted by the pathologist. After putting together clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed) and with microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis
    • Examination of the biopsy under a microscope by a pathologist is considered to be gold standard in arriving at a conclusive diagnosis
    • Biopsy specimens are studied initially using Hematoxylin and Eosin staining. The pathologist then decides on additional studies depending on the clinical situation
    • Sometimes, the pathologist may perform special studies, which may include immunohistochemical stains, molecular testing, and very rarely, electron microscopic studies to assist in the diagnosis

A differential diagnosis may be performed to exclude other tumor types before arriving at a diagnosis. This may include:

  • Perineuriomas
  • Granular cell tumors
  • Inflammatory fibroid polyp
  • Ganglioneuroma
  • Schwannoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Mucosal prolapse (cloacogenic polyp)

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Leiomyoma of Colon?

Leiomyomas of Colon are normally not harmful due to their benign nature. Therefore, any complications arising from such polyps are typically minimal.

How is Leiomyoma of Colon Treated?

Due to the benign (non-cancerous) nature of Leiomyoma of Colon, they do not generally require any treatment. They are also not inherently harmful to the body, so it is not essential that they be removed. However, most are removed to confirm the diagnosis.

  • They are removed during a colonoscopy and sent for testing, in order to ensure that they are non-malignant or harmless
  • A complete surgical resection of the tumor is usually curative
  • Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between a benign and malignant tumor. Hence, a complete removal of the tumor is recommended

How can Leiomyoma of Colon be Prevented?

Currently, no known preventive methods exist for Leiomyoma of Colon.

  • One can lower one’s risk of developing polyps by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
    • This includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; high fat foods should be consumed less
    • One must exercise for at least 30 minutes each day
  • In general, folic acid and calcium supplements may also reduce the risk of formation of colon polyps

What is the Prognosis of Leiomyoma of Colon? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The prognosis for individuals with Leiomyoma of Colon is generally excellent
  • Since, there is no risk of these polyps developing into cancer; they do not have a clinical significance. Most individuals are able to carry on with a normal quality of life

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Leiomyoma of Colon:

The following article link will help you understand colonoscopy screening procedure.


What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Feb. 25, 2016
Last updated: Oct. 26, 2018