Lymphoepithelial cysts

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Revised: 18 February 2019

Copyright: (c) 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lymphoepithelial cysts[TIAB] pancreas
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Cite this page: Jain D Lymphoepithelial cysts. website. Accessed February 18th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Rare congenital cyst similar to branchial pouch derived structures; 0.5% of pancreatic cysts
  • First described in 1987 (Am J Surg Pathol 1987;11:899)
  • Mean age 56 years, range 35 - 82 years, 80% male (Mod Pathol 2002;15:492)
  • Present with abdominal pain or nausea or incidental finding
  • Not associated with immunosuppression or autoimmune diseases
  • Occurs anywhere in pancreas (head, body or tail) or extrapancreatic
Clinical features
Case reports
Gross description
  • Mean 5 cm (range, 1 - 17 cm), cysts contain keratin or clear fluid
  • Often round and well demarcated from surrounding pancreas, 60% multilocular
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Well demarcated cysts

Cyst with papillary projection

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Unilocular or multilocular, lined by squamous epithelium, with lymphocytes and germinal centers in the wall
  • Occasional solid lymphoepithelial islands, rarely mucinous goblet cells
  • Rare sebaceous differentiation, keratin granulomas may be present
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Cyst with papillary
projection of squamous
epithelium surrounded
by lymphoid tissue

Cytology description
  • Numerous anucleated squamous cells, amorphous debris (Cancer 2006;108:501)
  • May have mildly atypical mucinous glandular and parakeratotic epithelium
  • Rare benign nucleated cells, usually no lymphocytes
Cytology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Well differentiated squamous
epithelium, keratinaceous and
amorphous debris and some
lymphoid cells

Squamous cells with no / rare lymphocytes

Various images

Differential diagnosis