Skin Adnexal Tumors in Plain Language: A Practical Approach for the General Surgical Pathologist

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2019 Jul;143(7):832-851. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2018-0189-RA. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Context.—: Skin adnexal tumors, those neoplasms deriving from hair follicles and sweat glands, are often a source of confusion amongst even experienced pathologists. Many well-described entities have overlapping features, tumors are often only partially sampled, and many cases do not fit neatly into well-established classification schemes.

Objectives.—: To simplify categorization of adnexal tumors for the general surgical pathologist and to shed light on many of the diagnostic dilemmas commonly encountered in daily practice. The following review breaks adnexal neoplasms into 3 groups: sebaceous, sweat gland-derived, and follicular.

Data sources.—: Pathology reference texts and primary literature regarding adnexal tumors.

Conclusions.—: Review of the clinical and histopathologic features of primary cutaneous adnexal tumors, and the diagnostic dilemmas they create, will assist the general surgical pathologist in diagnosing these often challenging lesions.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Adnexal and Skin Appendage / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms, Adnexal and Skin Appendage / pathology
  • Pathologists
  • Pathology, Surgical / methods*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology