Clinico-pathological correlation of lacrimal caruncle tumors: a retrospective analysis over 22 years at the University Eye Hospital Bonn

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2022 Apr;260(4):1415-1425. doi: 10.1007/s00417-021-05464-x. Epub 2021 Oct 28.


Purpose: The lacrimal caruncle is composed of numerous structures including different glands as well as hair follicles. Accordingly, the spectrum of benign and malignant lesions is broad, and the clinical diagnosis is often challenging. Here we systematically analyzed excised caruncular tumors over the past 22 years with special emphasis on the clinico-pathological correlation to provide a guidance for clinicians.

Methods: Retrospective evaluation with clinico-pathologic correlation of surgically removed caruncular tumors between 1998 and 2020 at a tertiary referral center.

Results: Eighty-two caruncular tumors were identified in the respective period. The patients were between 11 and 85 years of age (mean, 46.8 years; median, 49 years). Nevi (n = 35), cystic lesions (n = 14), oncocytoma (n = 9), papilloma (n = 8), sebaceous gland hyperplasia (n = 8), and reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (n = 4) were observed most frequently. Besides, we are the first reporting herniated orbital fat accompanied by a pyogenic granuloma. 2.4% (n = 2) were malignant tumors (sebaceous gland carcinoma, conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia with pyogenic granuloma).

Conclusion: Caruncular tumors show a broad spectrum of mostly benign tumors. They can occur in patients of any age. However, 8/9 oncocytomas and both malignant lesions were detected in patients older than 60 years. Although the clinical diagnosis was confirmed in only 68.3% by the histopathological analysis, the two malignant lesions were identified as such already clinically. Caruncular lesions with a history of growth or other signs of malignancy should be excised followed by detailed histopathological examination to allow a final diagnosis and exclude rare malignant tumors with lethal potential.

Keywords: Caruncle; Clinic-pathologic correlation; Nevus; Oncocytoma; Sebaceous gland hyperplasia; Tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sebaceous Gland Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms*
  • Universities