Microscopic mimics of prostatic carcinoma
Mucous gland metaplasia

Author: Andres Matoso, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 10 August 2016, last major update August 2016

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Mucous gland metaplasia

Cite this page: Mucous gland metaplasia. website. Accessed October 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Mucous gland metaplasia is a form of glandular differentiation
Essential features
  • Acini with tall, mucin filled cells with flat, basal pyknotic nuclei
  • May occur as group of glands or single cells within glands
  • More common in the periurethral area but very infrequent
  • May mimic cancer but not associated with malignancy
  • Resemble Cowper’s glands
  • Less than 1% of prostates show foci of mucin cell metaplasia
  • Periurethral area
  • Pathophysiology and etiology are unknown
Clinical features
  • The only clinical significance is that it may mimic cancer in a needle biopsy
  • Morphology
  • Not required
  • Mucous gland metaplasia is a morphologica variant of the prostatic acini
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Acini with tall mucin filled cells with flat, basal pyknotic nuclei
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Mucinous metaplasia

PSA immunostain

Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
  • The main differential diagnosis is with prostatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • In contrast to adenocarcinoma, mucous gland metaplasia does not show an infiltrative growth pattern, usually does not display a prominent nucleoli and is positive for basal cell markers p63 and high molecular weight cytokeratin by immunohistochemistry