Published: 2017-01-04

Epidermal inclusion cyst of breast diagnosed on fine needle aspiration cytology: a retrospective study

Gajender Singh, Komal Brar, Megha Ralli, Rajnish Kalra, Sonia Chhabra, Sant Prakash Kataria, Sonu Kalyan


Background: Epidermal inclusion cyst (EIC) is a rare benign condition of breast. Patient presents with palpable breast lump and needs to be differentiated from other breast lesions. This study included cases of epidermal inclusion cyst of breast (EICB) diagnosed on fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and their correlation with histopathological findings.

Methods: Study was conducted in a retrospective manner over a period of 2 years.  8 Patients who presented with breast lump and were cytologically diagnosed as EIC were included in the study. Cytological features were suggestive of EIC or infective EICB. Histopathological confirmation was done. Female: Male ratio in the study was 7:1 with an age range of 35 to 54 years. Radiological investigations favoured benign lesions in 5 cases and tubercular collection in one case.

Results: FNAC was performed and May-Grunwald-Giemsa stained smears showed numerous anucleate squames and mature squamous epithelial cells in a clean or inflammatory background. Diagnosis of EICB or infective EICB was made on cytology. Diagnosis was confirmed histologically in 6 cases.

Conclusions: Asymptomatic lesions do not require biopsy and treatment. Follow-up is sufficient if typical clinical and radiological findings are there. But in symptomatic cases, excision should be done followed by histopathological confirmation to rule out malignant lesion. Diagnosis should be made on FNA whenever associated with characteristic pultaceous aspirate and cytological findings.



Breast, Cytology, Epidermal inclusion cyst, FNAC

Full Text:



Singh M, Maheshwari B, Khurana N, Jain S. Epidermal inclusion cyst in breast: Is it so rare? J Cytol. 2012;29:169-72.

Debnath D, Taribagil S, Al-Janabi KJ, Inwang R. A large epidermoid cyst of breast mimicking carcinoma: A case report and review of literature. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2012;3:437-40.

Bergmann-Koester CU, Kolberg HC, Rudolf I, Krueger S, Gellissen J, Stoeckelhuber BM. Epidermal cyst of the breast mimicking malignancy: clinical, radiological, and histological correlation. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2006;273:312-4.

Taira N, Aogi K, Ohsumi S, Takashima S, Kawamura S, Nishimura R. Epidermal inclusion cyst of the breast. Breast Cancer. 2007;14:434-7.

Martin C, Bombard T, Payne E, Haitham, Elsamaloty. Ruptured epidermal inclusion cyst of the breast. J Women’s Health Care. 2014;3:191.

Lam SY, Kasthoori JJ, Mun KS, Rahmat K. Epidermal inclusion cyst of the breast: A rare benign entity. Singapore Med J. 2010;51:e191-e4.

Lilleng R, Pakosy N, Vural G, langmark F, Hagmar B. Asessment of fine needle aspiration cytology and histopathology for diagnosing male breast masses. Acta Cytol. 1995;39:877-81.

Phukan JP, Sinha A, Pal S, Sinha R. Cytological diagnosis of epidermal inclusion cyst of breast: A rare benign lesion. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2014;5:460-2.

Menville JG. Simple dermoid cyst of the breast. Ann Surg. 1936;103:49-56.

Cameron DS, Hilsinger RL. Squamous cell carcinoma in an epidermal inclusion cyst: Case report. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003;129:141-3.