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Pathology of Cutaneous Ciliated Cyst

Dr Sampurna Roy MD          


Dermatopathology Quiz Case 105

Diagnosis: Cutaneous Ciliated Cyst




Cutaneous ciliated cyst is an exceedingly rare, benign lesion.

These are most commonly found in the dermis or subcutis of the lower extremities of young female patients in their second and third decades.

The cysts are usually less than 3 cm in diameter.

These cysts are lined by ciliated cuboidal to columnar epithelium with pseudostratified areas.

The pathogenesis of the cyst is unknown.

The histologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural findings of some cases and the literature provide evidence in favour of the Mullerian heterotopia theory.  

 Microscopic images of Case 105


Immunostaining, staining reveals that the epithelial cells are positive for cytokeratin , estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR).

Evidence in favour of Mullerian origin include the strong association with  the female gender, location on lower limbs, frequent growth during reproductive years, and the Estrogen Receptor (ER) and Progesterone Receptor (PR) positivity.

The differential diagnosis of cutaneous ciliated cyst includes other cutaneous cysts capable of showing cilia, namely, bronchogenic cyst, branchial cleft cyst, thymic cyst, thyroglossal duct cyst, vulvar cyst, perianal (caudal gut) cyst, and cutaneous endosalpingiosis.


Further reading

PAX-8 Expression in Cutaneous Ciliated Cysts: Evidence for Müllerian Origin.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst in the subcutaneous area.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst: a case report with focus on mullerian heterotopia and comparison with eccrine sweat glands.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst of the inguinal area in a man.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst of the abdominal wall: a case report with a review of the literature and discussion of pathogenesis.Am J Dermatopathol. 2002 Feb;24(1):63-6.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst: a case report with immunohistochemical evidence for dynein in ciliated cells.

Cutaneous ciliated cyst of the scalp. A case report with immunohistochemical evidence for estrogen and progesterone receptors.



Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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