Published online Jun 21, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.3759
Revised: April 30, 2008
Accepted: May 7, 2008
Published online: June 21, 2008
Neurenteric cysts are extremely rare congenital anomalies, often presenting in the first 5 years of life, and are caused by an incomplete separation of the notochord from the foregut during the third week of embryogenesis. They are frequently accompanied with spinal or gastrointestinal abnormalities, but the latter may be absent in adults. Although usually located in the thorax, neurenteric cysts may be found along the entire spine. We present a 24-year-old woman admitted for epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting, low grade fever and leucocytosis. She underwent cystogastrostomy for a loculated cyst of the distal pancreas at the age of 4 years, which recurred when she was at the age of 11 years. Ultrasound and computer tomography (CT) scan revealed a 16 cm × 15 cm cystic mass in the body and tail of pancreas, with a 6-7 mm thickened wall. Laboratory data and chest X-ray were normal and spinal radiographs did not show any structural abnormalities. The patient underwent a complete cyst excision, and after an uneventful recovery, remained symptom-free without recurrence during the 5-year follow-up. The cyst was found to contain 1200 mL of pale viscous fluid. It was covered by a primitive single-layered cuboidal epithelium, along with specialized antral glandular parenchyma and hypoplastic primitive gastric mucosa. Focal glandular groups resembling those of the body of the stomach were also seen. In addition, ciliary respiratory epithelium, foci of squamous metaplasia and mucinous glands were present. The wall of the cyst contained a muscular layer, neuroglial tissue with plexogenic nerve fascicles, Paccini corpuscle-like structures, hyperplastic neuro ganglionar elements and occasional psammomatous bodies, as well as fibroblast-like areas of surrounding stroma. Cartilagenous tissue was not found in any part of the cyst. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of neurogenic elements marked by S-100, GFAP, NF and NSE. The gastric epithelium showed mostly CK7 and EMA immunoexpression, and the respiratory epithelium revealed a CK8 and CK18 immunoprofile without CK 10/13 positive elements, though neither CEA or AFP positive cells were found. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of an abdominally located neurenteric cyst with no associated spinal anomalies.