Trichilemmal cysts with proteinaceous material: A potential diagnostic pitfall

J Cutan Pathol. 2022 Jun;49(6):515-524. doi: 10.1111/cup.14214. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Background: Cysts of the skin are observed frequently and their diagnoses are generally straightforward. However, atypical cystic lesions for which differentiation is indistinct have been noted.

Methods: We examined five cases of trichilemmal cyst with proteinaceous material (TCPM), which required differentiation from sweat duct/gland tumors. We investigated the histopathological findings of TCPMs and evaluated the immunohistochemical expression of cytokeratin (CK) 10, CK13, CK17, CK19, CD8, and CD117. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed on the 5 TCPMs, 10 trichilemmal cysts (TCs), 5 clear-cell hidradenomas, 5 poroid hidradenomas, and cutaneous normal adnexa.

Results: Apoptotic cells were present in the cyst wall with a small amount of keratin or calcification in the cavity of TCPMs. The TCPMs and TCs were negative for CK19 and CD117, on the other hand clear-cell hidradenoma and poroid hidradenoma were positive for CK19 and CD117. The restricted positivity for CK10 was detected in the suprabasal layers of the cyst walls of TCPMs and TCs. The immunostaining patterns of TCPMs and TCs were similar to those of normal follicular isthmus.

Conclusions: The histopathological findings with characteristics of TCs and a panel of immunohistochemical antibodies including CD117, CK19, and CK10 contributed to a correct diagnosis of TCPM.

Keywords: clear-cell hidradenoma; poroid hidradenoma; trichilemmal cyst; trichilemmal keratinization.

MeSH terms

  • Acrospiroma*
  • Adenoma, Sweat Gland* / pathology
  • Epidermal Cyst* / diagnosis
  • Epidermal Cyst* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Poroma
  • Sweat Gland Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Sweat Gland Neoplasms* / pathology

Supplementary concepts

  • Poroid hidradenoma