Tumor Spread from Temporal Bone

Chapter 147

Tumor Spread from Temporal Bone


Carcinoma of the temporal bone is uncommon and represents < 1% of all head and neck neoplasms. Most of these tumors arise in the external auditory canal (EAC), whereas tumors originating in the middle ear cavity are very rare. These tumors occur in middle- and older-age groups. The etiology is unknown but appears to be related to chronic ear infection and exposure to ionizing radiation.


The histological appearance of squamous cell carcinoma of the EAC and the middle ear is similar to lesions of squamous cell carcinoma elsewhere. Early lesions are confined within the EAC. Neglected lesions cause massive temporal bone destruction with intracranial extension and spread to the skull base. Skull base extension may lead to parapharyngeal extension.

Clinical Findings

Squamous cell carcinoma of the EAC typically presents as a soft tissue mass in the EAC. Bleeding is common and there may be concomitant signs of infection. The presence of other signs such as hearing loss, vertigo, or CN VII palsy depends on tumor extent.


The treatment of choice is surgical resection. Postoperative radiation therapy may be given depending on tumor size and resectibility.

Imaging Findings


Dec 27, 2015 | Posted by in HEAD & NECK IMAGING | Comments Off on Tumor Spread from Temporal Bone
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