Rathke's cleft cyst

Case contributed by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard


Amenorhoea galactorrhea

Patient Data

Age: 50
Gender: Female

A lobulated lesion fills the sella and extends into the anterior aspect of the suprasellar cistern. It is T1 and T2 hyperintense, the T2 signal brighter than adjacent CSF. A small low T2 signal internal nodule is seen inferiorly on the left. 

A rim of slowly enhancing tissue at the left inferolateral margin likely reflects normal enhancing residual pituitary tissue.

The lesion displaces the infundibulum anterosuperiorly and distorts the posterior optic nerves, also displacing the chiasm superiorly.


T1/T2 hyperintense lesion is favored to be a Rathke's cleft cyst.

Case Discussion

The patient went on to have a transsphenoidal resection. 


The sections show a small fragment of tissue which is covered on one surface by a layer of ciliated cuboidal epithelial cells. These show strong immunostaining for cytokeratins CAM5.2 and AE1/AE3. The underlying tissue contains a moderate chronic inflammatory cell infiltrate. No anterior pituitary acini are identified. The features are consistent with the wall and lining of a Rathke's cleft cyst. No evidence of tumor is seen.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS: Features consistent with wall and lining of Rathke's cleft cyst.


The patient has been followed up for 7 years and is doing well without recurrence. 

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Case information

rID: 39337
Published: 16th Aug 2018
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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