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A carcinoma is a malignant neoplasm (i.e., cancer) that derives from epithelial cells. The term is often misused as a synonym for cancer in general, but it only refers to those of epithelial origin. Carcinomas are among the most common classes of cancer.

Malignancy, in the case of carcinoma, can refer both to highly metastatic types such as adenocarcinoma, as well as carcinomas that may be less likely to produce distant metastases in other organs (e.g., squamous cell carcinoma).