Johns Hopkins Pathology

Key Points:
  • Single Layer of clear cuboidal cells
  • Abundant glycogen
  • No mucin
Images: Cuboidal lining | Glycogen | Aggressive serous cyst |

Cysts in serous cystadenomas are composed of a single layer of clear cuboidal cells. These cells usually form flat sheets that line the cysts and only rarely form papillae that project into the cystic spaces. The neoplastic cells have clear cytoplasm because they contain abundant intracytoplasmic glycogen. They do not produce mucin. The nuclei are small, round, and have uniform chromatin and inconspicuous nucleoli. Atypia and mitoses are essentially absent. The central stellate scar and the stroma separating the cysts are composed mostly of relatively acellular collagenous connective tissues, but the stroma may contain entrapped islets of Langerhans and acini.

Special stains will highlight the abundant glycogen and absence of mucin. A periodic acid Schiff (PAS) stain will be strongly positive and sensitive to diastase digestion. Stains for mucin, including a mucicarmine and alcian blue stains, will be negative, as will stains for neuroendocrine differentiation including the Gremelius stain.


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