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Pathology of Sebaceous Carcinoma 

  Dr Sampurna Roy MD       

Path Quiz Case 12: Case history and  images

Diagnosis : Sebaceous Carcinoma




Sebaceous carcinoma is an aggressive tumour with both local recurrence and distant metastasis.

It has been noted that this lesion commonly occurs in the Asian population.

Sebaceous carcinoma is rarely associated with Muir-Torre syndrome. 

These tumours have been divided into 2 groups : Ocular and Extraocular.

Ocular sebaceous carcinoma is more common.

Ocular cases may mimic chalazion. 

The tumour arises from the glands in the periocular region (Meibomian glands, Glands of Zeis). 

Extraocular sebaceous carcinoma is usually noted in the head and neck area.

Grossly, the tumour presents as nodules, papules and plaques.

Microscopic features:

Histology reveals irregular lobular growth pattern composed of sebaceous and undifferentiated cells.

These cells show variation in the shape and size of nuclei.
The undifferentiated cells show eosinophilic cytoplasm with fine lipid globules.

Some large lobules show areas of atypical keratinizing cells.

There is pagetoid spread of malignant cells in the conjunctival epithelium or epidermis of the skin of the lid.

Differential Diagnosis- Extramammary Paget's disease .

This is rarely seen in extraocular sebaceous carcinoma.

The pagetoid cells contain no mucopolysaccharides but stain positively for fat with oil red O .


Identification of pagetoid growth pattern in biopsy material is essential to recognize the presence of an underlying sebaceous carcinoma. ]

Special stains:

To highlight the presence of tumour cells with sebaceous differentiation one would require special histochemical techniques, such as oil red O, Sudan IV stains on fresh tissue and EMA immunostains on paraffin embedded tissue.


Differential diagnosis: Squamous cell carcinoma ; Basal cell carcinoma with sebaceous differentiation.


Further reading:

Excision and Delayed Reconstruction With Paraffin Section Histopathological Analysis for Periocular Sebaceous Carcinoma.

Sebaceous carcinoma of the vulva. 

Sebaceous carcinoma.
A histochemical and immunohistochemical study of extra-ocular sebaceous carcinoma.

Adnexal carcinomas of the skin. II. Extraocular sebaceous carcinomas.
Sebaceous carcinoma of the eyelid. Errors in clinical and pathological diagnosis.

Sebaceous carcinoma with apocrine differentiation: A rare entity with aggressive behavior.

Hypermethylation of the CDKN2A gene promoter is a frequent epigenetic change in periocular sebaceous carcinoma and is associated with younger patient age.

A case of giant advanced sebaceous gland carcinoma.

Giant extraocular sebaceous carcinoma: case report and a brief review of a literature.

Sebaceous carcinoma of the right arm.

Sebaceous carcinoma of lacrimal caruncle in a chinese patient.

Intraepithelial Sebaceous Carcinoma: A Case Report of an Unusual Occurrence.

Sebaceous carcinoma of the lip.

Inguinal ulcerated sebaceous carcinoma: an unusual presentation.

Extra ocular sebaceous adenocarcinoma in HIV-positive patient--case report.

Androgen receptor identification in the diagnosis of eyelid sebaceous carcinomas.

DNA mismatch repair defects and microsatellite instability status in periocular sebaceous carcinoma.

Rippled pattern extraocular sebaceous carcinoma: a rare case report with brief review of literature.

Sebaceous carcinoma associated with Bowen's disease: a case report with emphasis on the pathogenesis of sebaceous carcinoma.

Periocular sebaceous gland carcinoma: A comprehensive review.

Muir-Torre Syndrome in a Middle-Aged Chinese Patient with Sebaceous Carcinoma of the Eyelid.

Eyelid sebaceous carcinoma: clinicopathologic and multiparametric immunohistochemical analysis that includes adipophilin.

A case of orbital sebaceous gland carcinoma developing in an anophthalmic socket 65 years after enucleation.

Sebaceous carcinoma of the eyelid: anatomoclinical data.

Locally aggressive and multicentric recurrent extraocular sebaceous carcinoma: case report and literature review.

Population-based analysis of prognostic indicators in sebaceous carcinoma of the head and neck.

A rare combination of sebaceoma with carcinomatous change (sebaceous carcinoma), trichoblastoma, and poroma arising from a nevus sebaceus.

Histopathological review of sebaceous carcinoma of the eyelid.




Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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