Evaluation and Staging of Temporal Bone Tumors

  • Joseph T. Breen
  • Paul W. Gidley


An accurate and complete clinical evaluation is mandatory for proper decision-making in managing temporal bone cancer. Presenting symptoms, medical and surgical history, physical examination, imaging, and adjunctive testing are all used to determine the extent and stage of the tumor. Comprehensive knowledge of temporal bone anatomy and physiology and understanding of auditory and vestibular testing are crucial for proper patient evaluation.

There is no universally adopted staging system for temporal bone cancer. Staging attempts to stratify patients by odds of survival, guide treatment, and provide a framework for reporting outcomes.

There are significant functional consequences of aggressive treatment, but survival is poor when attempting salvage treatment for recurrent disease. An appropriate balance between these opposing realities will minimize risk of recurrence while avoiding excessive treatment-related morbidity. This needs to start with precise localization and characterization of the disease process.


Physical examination Head and neck examination Cranial nerve examination Staging Temporal bone cancer Ear canal cancer Oto-endoscopy Audiometry 



American Joint Committee on Cancer


benign paroxysmal positional vertigo


computed tomography


cervical vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials


external auditory canal






magnetic resonance imaging


ocular vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials


Pittsburgh staging system


squamous cell carcinoma


tympanic membrane


tumor node metastasis


vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials




vestibular-ocular reflex


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph T. Breen
    • 1
  • Paul W. Gidley
    • 2
  1. 1.CincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Head and Neck SurgeryThe University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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