Prostate gland & seminal vesicles


Mucinous metaplasia

Last author update: 1 August 2016
Last staff update: 3 September 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Mucinous metaplasia

Andres Matoso, M.D.
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Cite this page: Matoso A. Mucinous metaplasia. website. Accessed October 4th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Mucinous 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
  • Mucinous metaplasia is a morphologica variant of the prostatic acini
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Acini with tall mucin filled cells with flat, basal pyknotic nuclei
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
  • The main differential diagnosis is with prostatic ductal adenocarcinoma
  • In contrast to adenocarcinoma, mucinous 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
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