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WHO Classification of Tumours
Apocrine adenocarcinoma


Apocrine adenocarcinoma (AC) is a rare, slow-growing cutaneous carcinoma with apocrine differentiation arising from the sweat glands. Most commonly affected location is the axilla, followed by the anogenital region. AC typically originates in the deeper dermis and frequently extends into the subcutaneous fat, sometimes also into the epidermis. The lesions typically are poorly circumscribed, single or multiple, firm or cystic nodules with infiltrating borders. They may be ulcerated or hemorrhagic and range in size from 1.5 to 8 cm. The tumour cells are characterized by abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and large, often vesicular nuclei. An important diagnostic feature is decapitation secretion, although it may be absent in poorly differentiated tumours. The typically densely fibroblastic or hyaline stroma may contain lymphoplasmacytic infiltrates.
All reported cases of apocrine adenocarcinoma affected adults between 25 and 91 years of age (average 60 years). The clinical course is typically prolonged. Tumour-related deaths have been reported, but the overall mortality is low, despite high rates of recurrence (30%) and regional lymph node metastasis (50%)

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LeBoit PE, Burg G, Weedon D, Sarasin A (Eds.)
World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. Pathology and Genetics of Skin Tumours
3rd Edition
IARC Press: Lyon 2005