Prostate gland & seminal vesicles

Benign mimickers of carcinoma

Seminal vesicles / ejaculatory duct



Topic Completed: 1 December 2015

Minor changes: 12 April 2021

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PubMed Search: Seminal vesicle [AND] ejaculatory duct [title]

Andres Matoso, M.D.
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Cite this page: Matoso A. Seminal vesicles / ejaculatory duct. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/prostateseminalves.html. Accessed December 8th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Seminal vesicles are a pair of glands located below the bladder and in connection with the base of the prostate
  • They have a tube-like shape and can be folded to form diverticuli or outpouchings within its wall
Essential features
  • Seminal vesicle / ejaculatory duct epithelium shows nuclear atypia that is degenerative in nature; also yellow pigment in the cytoplasm
  • The outpouching from the seminal vesicle epithelium can give origin to clusters of small glands that mimic prostate cancer
  • The key to the differential diagnosis is in recognizing the degenerative nuclear atypia, the characteristic yellow pigment and the nearby seminal vesicle epithelium
Clinical features
  • Seminal vesicles can be a source of overdiagnosis when present in prostate needle biopsy or TUR specimens
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Seminal vesicle has thick muscular wall, complex mucosal folds, columnar and basal cells
  • Cytoplasm has large coarse golden yellow-brown lipofuscin / lipochrome granules
  • Columnar cells also have atypical appearing "monster" cells with prominent nuclear atypia and degenerative appearance, may contain hyaline globules (degenerative) (Am J Surg Pathol 1981;5:483)
  • Lipochrome pigment granules may be type 1 (coarse, golden yellow-brown, usually abundant, usually in seminal vesicle / ejaculatory duct epithelium) or type 2 (fine, gray-brown, or dark and scant, present in occasional prostate adenocarcinomas or normal prostate acini, Arch Pathol Lab Med 1999;123:1093, Hum Pathol 1995;26:1302)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Andres Matoso, M.D.
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Prostatic glands

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Nuclear pleomorphism

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Yellow pigment

Positive stains
  • MUC6 and PAX2 are positive in seminal vesicles and negative in prostate glands
  • PSA and PSAP can be positive in both seminal vesicles and prostate glands
Differential diagnosis
  • Prostate adenocarcinoma:
    • Outpouching from the seminal vesicle epithelium can give origin to clusters of small glands that mimic prostate cancer
    • Key to the differential diagnosis is in recognizing the degenerative nuclear atypia, the characteristic yellow pigment and the nearby seminal vesicle epithelium
      • Immunohistochemistry for MUC6 or PAX2 can help if necessary
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