Differential diagnosis of intraductal lesions of the prostate

Sara E. Wobker, Jonathan I. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The category of intraductal lesions of the prostate includes a range of primary prostatic and nonprostatic processes with wide variation in prognosis and recommended follow-up. Studies have shown that pathologists are uncomfortable with the diagnosis of these lesions and that the diagnostic reproducibility is low in this category. Despite the diagnostic difficulty, their accurate and reproducible diagnosis is critical for patient management. This review aims to highlight the diagnostic criteria, prognosis, and treatment implications of common intraductal lesions of the prostate. It focuses on the recognition of intraductal carcinoma of the prostate (IDC-P) in prostate needle biopsies and how to distinguish it from its common mimickers, including high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, invasive cribriform prostatic adenocarcinoma, urothelial carcinoma extending into prostatic ducts, and prostatic ductal adenocarcinoma. IDC-P is independently associated with higher risk disease, and its identification in a needle biopsy, even in the absence of invasive carcinoma, should compel definitive treatment. Conversely, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia has a much better prognosis and in limited quantities does not even warrant a repeat biopsy. IDC-P must be distinguished from urothelial carcinoma involving prostatic ducts, as recommended treatment varies markedly. Ductal adenocarcinoma may confuse the pathologist and clinician by overlapping terminology, and morphology may also mimic IDC-P on occasion. The use of ancillary testing with immunohistochemistry and molecular markers has also been reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e67-e82
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Intraductal carcinoma
  • Prostate
  • Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia
  • Prostatic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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