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vol. 62

A case of cutaneous bronchogenic cyst in the scapular area

Yasuhiro Nakamura
Fumiyoshi Fujishima
Shigemi Ito
Kazuyuki Ishida
Satoko Sato
Mika Watanabe
Hiromu Tanaka
Masaki Nio
Hironobu Sasano

Pol J Pathol 2011; 2: 120-121
Online publish date: 2011/08/18
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Bronchogenic cysts originate from the primitive tracheobronchial tree and are primarily located in the thorax [1, 2]. Cutaneous bronchogenic cysts are not common lesions which are often diagnosed histopathologically [3-11]. Especially, there are rare reports regarding cutaneous bronchogenic cyst in the scapular location [1-6]. Herein, we report a 4-year-old boy who presented with bronchogenic cyst and relapsing infection in the right scapular region.

Case report

A 4-year-old boy was noted to have a lesion in his right scapular region after 10 months old. The mass caused repeating infection, and required incision and pus discharge several times. The legion was resected in Tohoku University Hospital, and histopathological analysis was performed. The mass was fragile and appeared grey to brown. The cavity was filled with pus and encircled by a thick fibrous wall.

Histopathological findings

Microscopically, a large cavity was detected in the centre of the specimen. The cyst was lined with respiratory epithelium and partially encircled by smooth muscle bundles (Fig. 1A) or squamous epithelium with sebaceous glands (Fig. 1B). Foci of haemorrhage, inflammation and fibrosis were also detected in this cavity wall (Fig. 1C). The tumour was histopathologically diagnosed as a cutaneous bronchogenic cyst.


Cutaneous bronchogenic cysts are rare lesions that are mostly seen in children, and the most common location of these lesions are the suprasternal notch, presternal area, neck and scapula [3, 7].

It is postulated that bronchogenic cysts are originally derived from outside of the thorax after sternal closure, and migrate to the cutaneous region [3]. On the other hand, it is also suggested that the cyst simply pinches off from the developing tracheal bud during closure of the mesenchymal plates [3, 8, 9]. However, the exact mechanism still remains unclear.

The pathological diagnosis is performed by demonstrating one or more tracheobronchial structures in the cyst wall [3]. In most cases, hyaline cartilage, smooth muscle cells, elastic fibres, fibrous tissues, neural cells and seromucous glands are microscopically detectable [3, 8, 10]. The surface epithelium is usually ciliated pseudostratified columnar or cuboidal cells; however, these structures may be changed in conditions of chronic infections and fibrosis [3, 10]. Stratified squamous epithelium can be seen in 2% of cutaneous bronchogenic cysts [3, 7]. In addition, some rare cases may show sebaceous glands [6, 11]. Based on these findings, our case was histopathologically diagnosed as a cutaneous bronchogenic cyst in the scapular area.

In conclusion, the possibility of bronchogenic cysts should be kept in mind while dealing with superficial scapular skin lesions in children.


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Address for correspondence

Yasuhiro Nakamura , MD

Department of Pathology

Tohoku University School of Medicine

2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai

980-8575 Japan

tel. +81-22-717-8050

fax +81-22-717-8051

e-mail: yasu-naka@patholo2.med.tohoku.ac.jp
Copyright: © 2011 Polish Association of Pathologists and the Polish Branch of the International Academy of Pathology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
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