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Cytological diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum with an unusual clinical presentation at an unusual site

Neeta Kumar, Patricia Okiro, Ronald Wasike


Background: Molluscum contagiosum, is a common skin infection caused by a pox virus usually present as raised nodule with umbilicated centre. Cytologic diagnosis has been documented in very few case reports as the lesion is subjected to fine needle aspiration rarely and awareness of the cytological features of Molluscum contagiosum is limited. The cytological diagnosis is further challenging in clinically unsuspected lesions.

Main observations: A 45-year-old female patient presented with 10 months history of a nodular nipple lesion which ulcerated after local application of caustic pencil. There was no associated breast lump. Cheesy material was expressed from the ulcer on the nipple and crush smeared on slides for cytological evaluation.

Cytology smears revealed nucleate and anucleate squames in an inflammatory background. Characteristic intracytopalsmic and extracytopalsmic molluscum bodies were seen.

Conclusion: The nipple is an unusual site of presentation for Molluscum contagiosum. Ulcerated lesions are rarer. In the present case, the cytological examination facilitated the diagnosis in a clinically unsuspected case. Cytology can be a useful rapid diagnostic aid in planning the management of these patients and help in avoiding unnecessary biopsies.


Kumar N, Okiro P, Wasike R. Cytological diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum with an unusual clinical presentation at an unusual site. J Dermatol Case Rep. 2010; 4(4): 63-65.


cytology; diagnosis; molluscum bodies; molluscum contagiosum; nipple; ulcer

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