Distribution of lipochrome pigment in the prostate gland: biological and diagnostic implications

Hum Pathol. 1995 Dec;26(12):1302-7. doi: 10.1016/0046-8177(95)90293-7.


Lipochrome pigment is characteristically found in Wolffian duct-derived structures including seminal vesicles and ejaculatory ducts. The presence of lipochrome pigment is helpful in identifying atypical histological patterns of seminal vesicle or ejaculatory duct that mimic prostatic adenocarcinoma. The authors studied the distribution of lipochrome pigment in 28 radical prostatectomy specimens using a modified Ziehl-Neelson stain and fluorescence microscopy. In all cases secretory epithelium of the central zone contained lipochrome pigment often in significant amounts (2 to 3+). Secretory epithelium from peripheral and transition zones in each of four specimens (14.3%) contained lipochrome pigment. In addition, occasional examples of nodular hyperplasia, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and prostatic adenocarcinoma contained lipochrome pigment. The preferential distribution of lipochrome pigment in central zone epithelium adds further support to the hypothesis that central zone glands are derived embryologically from Wolffian duct (mesoderm) rather than urogenital sinus (endoderm), which gives rise to transition and peripheral zone glands. Furthermore, lipochrome pigment should not be used as the sole diagnostic criterion for separating atypical histological patterns of seminal vesicle and ejaculatory duct from those of prostatic origin.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry*
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma in Situ / chemistry
  • Carcinoma in Situ / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma in Situ / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigments, Biological / analysis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Lipids
  • Pigments, Biological