Published: 2017-03-25

Temporal bone malignancy: an overview

Shashidhar K., Venkatesh Doreyawar, Aniruddh Kulkarni, Nabeel Malick, Preetham H. N., Sandhya N. S., Vidyashree K. M., Shruthi Puthukulangara


Background: Carcinoma of the temporal bone is rare, accounting for fewer than 0.2% of all the tumours of the head and neck. Despite the recent advances made in oncology, delayed diagnosis is common with temporal bone tumors which lead to significant morbidity and poor surgical outcomes. All cases of persistent otitis media or otitis externa which fails to improve with adequate treatment, temporal bone malignancy should be suspected. The aim of the study was to assess the incidence of temporal bone malignancy in patients with CSOM or external auditory mass.

Methods: It is a prospective study conducted in department of ENT and Head and Neck surgery, Karnataka institute of medical sciences, Hubballi from July 2015- December 2016. All patients with CSOM presenting with otorrhoea and mass in the external auditory canal in our outpatient department were included in the study.  

Results: Out of 6496 patients included in our study, 3 patients were found to have temporal bone malignancy. Histopathological examination showed squamous cell carcinoma in all 3 patients. All three patients underwent lateral temporal bone resection with post-operative radiotherapy.

Conclusions: High level of suspicion is necessary for early diagnosis of temporal bone malignancy especially in patients with CSOM unresponsive to conventional treatment.



Temporal bone malignancy, Squamous cell carcinoma, Surgical resection

Full Text:



Lionello M, Stritoni P, Facciolo MC, Stafffieri A, Martini A, Mazzoni A, et al. Temporal bone carcinoma: current diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic concepts. J Surg Oncol. 2014:110:383-92.

Gidley PW, Thompson CR, Roberts DB, DeMonte F, Hanna EY. The oncology of otology. Laryngoscope. 2012;122:393-400.

Barrs DM. Temporal bone carcinoma. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2001;34:1197-218.

Monem SA, Moffat DA, Frampton MC. Carcinoma of the ear: A case report of possible association with chlorinated disinfectants. J Laryngol Otol. 1999:113:1004-7.

Gaio E, Maroni G,Balandamura S, Staffieri A. Inverted papiloma involving the temporal bone and its associatin with squamous cell carcinoma: critical analysis of the literature. Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2005;5:391-7.

Marioni G, Altavilla G, Busatto G, Blandamura S, De Filippis C, Staffieri A. Detection of human papilloma virus in temporal bone inverted papilloma by polymerase chain reaction. Acta Otolaryngol. 2003;123:367-71.

Lim LH, Goh YH, Chan YM, Chong VF, Low WK. Malignancy of the temporal bone and external auditory canal. Otolaryngol HNS. 2000;122:882-6.

Cureoglu S, Tulunay O, Ferlito A, Schachern PA, Paparella MM, Rinaldo A. Otologic manifestations of metastatic tumors to the temporal bone. Acta Otolaryngol. 2004;124:1117-23.

da Silva AP, Breda E, Monteiro E. Maligant tumors of the temporal bone-our experience. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2016;82(4):479-83.

Gidley PW, DeMonte F. Temporal bone malignancies. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2013;24:97-110.