Linitis Plastica, also known as Brinton’s Disease, is a rare type of gastric cancer that originates in the glandular tissue lining the stomach walls.
Glandular tissue is part of the much larger epithelial category that includes a variety of tissue that lines the surfaces and cavities of the body’s organs and composes many of its glands. Cancers that originate in any of the glandular epithelial tissues are termed adenocarcinoma.
Thus, Linitis Plastica is a gastric (stomach) adenocarcinoma. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to ascertain credible information regarding Linitis Plastica because of its infrequent occurrence and because it behaves differently than the more usual types of gastric adenocarcinoma. (learn more about the symptoms of Linitis Plastica)
Linitis Plastica begins in the stomach lining and quickly invades the stomach’s muscle walls, turning them into leather-like scar tissue that cannot swell or contract as it should. This rigid stomach, commonly called a “leather bottle stomach”, is unable to hold much food, resulting in a week diet and the inadequate metabolism of vital nutrients.
Linitis Plastica is very fast growing and often spreads to other parts of the body. The lymph nodes and the lining of other abdominal organs are frequent recipients of Linitis Plastica’s quick cell proliferation.
Adenocarcinomas of the stomach are classified according to the most unfavorable microscopic element present in a sample of the cancerous tissue. These elements, in order of decreasing favorability, include tubular, papillary, mucinous, or signet-ring cells (independent glandular cells), and differentiated lesions. Pathological examinations of Linitis Plastica reveal signet-ring cell proliferation, which means that the disease carries a worse prognosis than some of the other stomach cancers.
Treatment of Linitis Plastica usually demands a partial or total gastrectomy (removal of the stomach). Unfortunately, gastrectomies are not always successful in removing Linitis Plastica because it is such a fast growing cancer. Chemotherapy is usually offered to help treat the disease, but options are limited and results are variable because few guidelines have been established for the treatment of Linitis Plastica with radiation.
If the stomach has become too large to remove surgically, or if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, surgery is then performed to help relieve symptoms, not necessarily to remove the cancer.