International Cancer Conference Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 70–75 | Cite as

Ascending colon cancer coincident with mesenteric phlebosclerosis associated with the long-term oral intake of Chinese herb containing gardenia fruit: A case report and literature review

  • Kazuhito Minami
  • Masashi Fujiie
  • Fumiyoshi Fushimi
  • Kenichi Taguchi
  • Yosinari Nobutoh
  • Daisuke Yoshida
  • Mituhiko Ota
  • Masahiko Ikebe
  • Masaru Morita
  • Yasushi Toh
Case report


Mesenteric phlebosclerosis is a recently discovered rare ischemic colon disease. The relationship between mesenteric phlebosclerosis and the use of herbal medicine containing gardenia fruit was recently reported. Although the relationship between colon cancer and mesenteric phlebosclerosis has not been described, some cases of colorectal cancer coincident with mesenteric phlebosclerosis have been reported. We treated a 63-year-old female who was diagnosed with ascending colon cancer coincident with mesenteric phlebosclerosis. She had been taking a Chinese herb containing gardenia fruit for over 18 years. The ascending colon cancer was clinically diagnosed as T2, N0, and M0 according to Japanese classification of colorectal carcinoma and the mesenteric phlebosclerosis had spread from the cecum to the descending colon. She underwent laparoscopic subtotal colectomy with en bloc removal of the regional lymph nodes, and both the ascending colon cancer and mesenteric phlebosclerosis were completely resected. The microscopic findings show that the tumor was well-differentiated tubular adenocarcinoma invading the muscular propria with no regional lymph node metastasis, and the mesenteric phlebosclerosis lesion was characterized by marked fibrous thickening of the venous walls with calcification, marked transmural fibrosis and deposition of the collagen in the mucosa, accompanied by macrophages within the vessel walls. In literature review, 10 cases with colorectal cancer coincident with mesenteric phlebosclerosis were reported. 9 of 10 cases (90%) had cancer in the right-side colon affected by mesenteric phlebosclerosis, and 5 of 10 cases (50%) were associated with the use of a Chinese herb containing gardenia fruit. It was recently demonstrated that genipin, which is a metabolite bio-transformed from gardenia fruit, possesses carcinogenesis. We speculate that genipin may be associated with not only the development of mesenteric phlebosclerosis but also carcinogenesis in the right-side colon. In conclusion, our findings suggest that the safety of gardenia fruit should be re-evaluated, and gastroenterologists should be aware that gardenia fruit may be risk factor for not only the development of mesenteric phlebosclerosis but also carcinogenesis in the proximal colon.


Colon cancer Mesenteric phlebosclerosis Chinese herb Gardenia fruit (sanshishi) Genipin 



The authors thank Dr. Brian Quinn for assistance in editing the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of this case report and any accompanying images.


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Copyright information

© The Japan Society of Clinical Oncology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazuhito Minami
    • 1
  • Masashi Fujiie
    • 2
  • Fumiyoshi Fushimi
    • 3
  • Kenichi Taguchi
    • 3
  • Yosinari Nobutoh
    • 1
  • Daisuke Yoshida
    • 1
  • Mituhiko Ota
    • 1
  • Masahiko Ikebe
    • 1
  • Masaru Morita
    • 1
  • Yasushi Toh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterological SurgeryNational Kyushu Cancer CenterFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryFukuoka Wajiro HospitalFukuokaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic PathologyNational Kyushu Cancer CenterFukuokaJapan

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