Skin nonmelanocytic tumor
Cutaneous ciliated cyst

Topic Completed: 1 December 2014

Minor changes: 13 December 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cystadenoma [title] skin

Ghassan A. Tranesh, M.D.
Hong Qu, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 2,009
Page views in 2020 to date: 1,361
Cite this page: Tranesh GA, Qu H. Cutaneous ciliated cyst. website. Accessed September 26th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Also called cystadenoma, cutaneous Müllerian cyst
  • Usually extremities of teenage girls
  • May have Müllerian derivation in females, distinct fetal eccrine duct origin in males
  • Solitary lesion which presents shortly after menarche on limb of young females (12-42 years)
  • Also described in males and at atypical sites including back, shoulder, scalp, cheek
  • Thigh > buttock > calf > foot
  • Lesions on limbs of young females are generally thought to be of Müllerian (paramesonephric) derivation, representing a migration abnormality of fetal development (heterotopia)
  • Cysts arising at other sites and in males may represent metaplasia of lining of a pre-existent simple cyst of sweat duct derivation, or have an entirely different histogenesis
Clinical features
  • Located in deep dermis or subcutaneous tissue
  • Usually asymptomatic
Case reports
  • Surgical excision
Gross description
  • Soft to cystic, solitary, movable, nontender, fluctuant swelling
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Round cyst with blue hue

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Unilocular or multilocular cyst with intraluminal papillary projections of lining resembling fallopian tube
  • Cuboidal to columnar ciliated epithelium with frequent pseudostratified foci
  • Deep to the epithelium lie well-vascularized parallel bundles of collagen, but smooth muscle is not present
  • Occasional: squamous metaplasia, intercalated dark cells
  • Rare: mucin-secreting cells, apocrine-like features
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Epithelium-lined cyst in subcutaneous tissue

Cilia on luminal border

Thin-walled cyst

Focal squamous metaplasia

Cytokeratin+, EMA+



PR+, ER+



Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Ultrastructurally, cilia have characteristic morphology with a central pair of microtubules, nine radially orientated pairs of microtubules, basal bodies, cross-striated rootlets
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