Overview and Historical Developments

  • Paul W. Gidley


A rich literature regarding temporal bone cancer has evolved over the last century. While squamous cell carcinoma is the most common tumor to involve the temporal bone, many different primary tumor types can occur within the temporal bone. These different tumor types have very different biologic behaviors, and it is important to understand the natural history of each of these tumors. Equally, many different primary locations, such as periauricular skin and parotid, can involve the temporal bone. Recognizing the similarities and differences of these primary sites from the ear canal, middle ear, and mastoid is essential.

The history of temporal bone cancer treatment reveals a refinement in understanding and techniques for management. Temporal bone cancer has been recognized from the origin of otology as a field of study. As the field of otology developed, surgical techniques to treat chronic infection were applied to temporal bone cancer. The contemporaneous development of diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiation helped to improve on the outcomes gained by surgery alone. The improvements in temporal bone resection and the reliable use of microvascular free flaps denote the current state-of-the-art for temporal bone surgery. The development of a cogent staging system has allowed physicians to compare results and to apply appropriate treatment to disease burden. The development of multidrug chemotherapy protocols marks the dawn of a new age in temporal bone cancer.


Ear canal cancer Middle ear cancer Periauricular skin cancer Parotid cancer Temporal bone cancer Squamous cell carcinoma Adenoid cystic carcinoma Carcinoid tumor Multidisciplinary care History of medicine 


  1. 1.
    Gidley PW, DeMonte F. Temporal bone malignancies. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 2013;24(1):97–110.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gidley PW, Thompson CR, Roberts DB, DeMonte F, Hanna EY. The oncology of otology. Laryngoscope. 2012;122(2):393–400.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Öhngren G. Malignant disease of the upper jaw: (Section of laryngology and section of otology). Proc R Soc Med. 1936;29(11):1497.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Newhart H. Primary carcinoma of the middle ear: report of a case. Laryngoscope. 1917;27:543–55.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Walsh M. William Wilde: his contribution to otology. Ir J Med Sci. 2016;185(2):291–2.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Weinberger HL. Carcinom am ohr1908.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Furstenberg AC. XLII. Primary adenocarcinoma of the middle ear and mastoid. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1924;33(3):677–89.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Peele J, Hauser GH. Primary carcinoma of the external auditory canal and middle ear: review of the literature; Report of a case of cystic adenoid epithelioma (Brooke’s tumor) of the external auditory canal. Arch Otolaryngol. 1941;34(2):254–66.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Moffat DA, Wagstaff SA, Hardy DG. The outcome of radical surgery and postoperative radiotherapy for squamous carcinoma of the temporal bone. Laryngoscope. 2005;115(2):341–7.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wilson TG. Historical Vignette: William Wilde. Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(6):626–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wilde WR. The narrative of a voyage to madeira, teneriffe, and along the shores of the mediterranean. Dublin: William Curry, Jun. and Co.; London: Longman, Orme, Browne and Co.; 1840.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sunder S, Jackler RK, Blevins NH. Virtuosity with the mallet and gouge: the brilliant triumph of the “modern” mastoid operation. Otolaryngol Clin N Am. 2006;39(6):1191–210.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wilde WR. Practical observations on aural surgery and the nature and treatment of diseases of the ear: Blanchard & Lea; 1853.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Seaton A. Wilde thoughts. QJM. 2012;105(11):1137–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robins AH, Sellars SL. Oscar Wilde’s terminal illness: reappraisal after a century. Lancet. 2000;356(9244):1841–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Schwartze H. Die Chirurgischen Krankheiten des Ohres. Leipzig; 1873.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Schwartze H. Pathologische anatomie des ohres: Verlag von August Hirschwald; 1878.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Schwartze H. Lehrbuch der chirurgischen Krankheiten des Ohres: Enke; 1885.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Schwartze H, Eysell C. Uber die kunstliche eroffnung des warzenfortsatzes. Arch Ohrenheilkd. 1873;7:157–62.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Politzer A. Textbook of diseases of the ear, translated and edited by HC Cassells. Philadelphia: Lea & Son; 1883.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bezold F. Übersicht über den gegenwärtigen stand der ohrenheilkunde [Overview of the present state of ear medicine]. Wiesbaden; 1895.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kretschmann F. Ueber Carcinome des Schläfenbeines. Archiv für Ohrenheilkunde. 1887;24(4):231–62.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zeroni. Uber das Carcinom des Gehoerorgans. Archiv f Ohrenhlk. 1899;8:141.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Boies LR. Horace Newhart, MD. SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA; 1945.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Haug R. Beiträge zur Klinik und mikroskopischen Anatomie der Neubildungen des äusseren und mittleren Ohres. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 1894;36(3):170–206.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Treitel L. Ueber des carcinom des ohres. Z Ohrenheilkunde. 1898;33:152–64.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Heffner DK. Low-grade adenocarcinoma of probable endolymphatic sac origin A clinicopathologic study of 20 cases. Cancer. 1989;64(11):2292–302.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Heyer H. Ueber einen Fall von Ohrcarcinom, behandelt mit Resection des Felsenbeines. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Chirurgie. 1899;50(5):522–33.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Shambaugh GE Jr. Albert c. furstenburg, md. Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;82(1):38–41.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Work WP. Albert c. furstenberg, md: In memoriam. Arch Otolaryngol. 1970;91(3):215.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Furstenberg A. A chronicle of 100 years of otolaryngology. Laryngoscope. 1947;57(9):596–615.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Furstenberg AC. LXIII address of president. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1953;62(3):712–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Furstenberg AC, Lashmet FH, Lathrop F. LXXXIV. Meniere’s symptom complex: medical treatment. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1934;43(4):1035–46.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Fraser J. Malignant disease of the external acoustic meatus and middle ear. SAGE Publications; 1930.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mollison W, Fraser JS. SAGE Publications Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA; 1936.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Rankin MNM. I Wimpole Street, London, W. i. Section of Laryngology.—The Opening Meeting of the Session 1927–28 will be held on Friday, 4th November, at 5 PM President, Mr Harold S. Barwell, FRCS; Hon. Secretaries, Mr WM Mollison, M. Ch., 23 Devonshire Place, London, W. 1, and Mr Lionel Colledge, FRCS.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Thorell I. Treatment of malignant tumours of the middle ear at Radiumhemmet, Stockholm. Acta Radiol. 1935;16(2):242–53.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Figi FA, Hempstead BE. Malignant tumors of the middle ear and the mastoid process. Arch Otolaryngol. 1943;37(2):149–68.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mattick WL, Mattick JW. Some experiences in management of cancer of middle ear and mastoid. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1951;53(6):610–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Figi FA, Weisman PA. Cancer and chemodectoma in the middle ear and mastoid. J Am Med Assoc. 1954;156(12):1157–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Adams WS, Morrison R. On primary carcinoma of the middle ear and mastoid; its incidence, etiological factors and clinical course, with the results of treatment by surgery and radiotherapy. J Laryngol Otol. 1955;69(2):115–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Deeley TJ. Robert Morrison 1913–1992. Clin Oncol. 1992;4(4):271.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Society Notices. J R Soc Med. 1978;71.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Boland J, Paterson R. Cancer of the middle ear and external auditory meatus. J Laryngol Otol. 1955;69(7):468–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Eggston AAW. Histopatology of the ear, nose and throat; 1947.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Aub JC, Evans RD, Hempelmann LH, Martland HS. The late effects of internally-deposited radioactive materials in man. Medicine. 1952;31(3):221–329.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ruben RJ, Thaler SU, Holzer N. Radiation induced carcinoma of the temporal bone. Laryngoscope. 1977;87(10 Pt 1):1613–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Ward GE, Loch WE, Lawrence W Jr. Radical operation for carcinoma of the external auditory canal and middle ear. Am J Surg. 1951;82(1):169–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Shedd DP. Historical landmarks in head and neck cancer surgery: The American Head and Neck Society; 1999.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Jaques DA. The fraternity of strangers. Am J Surg. 1984;148(4):426–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Francis HW, Papel I. Otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins: The first 100 years (1914–2014). Laryngoscope. 2015;125(09):S1.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Campbell E, Volk BM, Burklund CW. Total resection of temporal bone for malignancy of the middle ear. Ann Surg. 1951;134(3):397–404.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Campbell E. Walter E. Dandy—Surgeon 1886–1946. J Neurosurg. 1951;8(3):249–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Parsons H, Lewis JS. Subtotal resection of the temporal bone for cancer of the ear. Cancer. 1954;7(5):995–1001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Tabb HG, Komet H, McLaurin JW. Cancer of the external auditory canal: treatment with radical mastoidectomy and irradiation. Laryngoscope. 1964;74:634–43.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Lewis JS. Temporal bone resection. Review of 100 cases. Arch Otolaryngol. 1975;101(1):23–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
  58. 58.
    Conley JJ, Novack AJ. Surgical treatment of cancer of the ear and temporal bone. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol. 1960;64:83–92.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Conley J. Cancer of the middle ear. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1965;74:555–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Shotton JC, Sergeant RJ, Tanner NS, Allen JP. Lateral temporal bone resection for extensive pinnal malignancy. Has anything changed in forty years? J Laryngol Otol. 1993;107(8):697–702.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Mccabe BF. John J. Conley, MD, 1912–1999—In celebration of a life—A meeting of fellows and friends. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2000;109(1):1–8.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Hilding DA, Selker R. Total resection of the temporal bone for carcinoma. Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;89(4):636–45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Lempert J. Complete apicectomy (mastoidotympano-apicectomy). Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1937;25(2):144–77.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Obituary: David Hilding. Salt Lake Tribune. 2016 Nov. 13, 2016.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
  66. 66.
    Selker RG, Shapiro WR, Burger P, Blackwood MS, Deutsch M, Arena VC, et al. The Brain Tumor Cooperative Group NIH Trial 87-01: a randomized comparison of surgery, external radiotherapy, and carmustine versus surgery, interstitial radiotherapy boost, external radiation therapy, and carmustine. Neurosurgery. 2002;51(2):343–57.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Graham MD, Sataloff RT, Kemink JL, Wolf GT, McGillicuddy JE. Total en bloc resection of the temporal bone and carotid artery for malignant tumors of the ear and temporal bone. Laryngoscope. 1984;94(4):528–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Sataloff RT, Myers DL, Lowry LD, Spiegel JR. Total temporal bone resection for squamous cell carcinoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;96(1):4–14.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Crabtree JA, Britton BH, Pierce MK. Carcinoma of the external auditory canal. Laryngoscope. 1976;86(3):405–15.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Medina JE, Park AO, Neely JG, Britton BH. Lateral temporal bone resections. Am J Surg. 1990;160(4):427–33.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Moffat DA, Grey P, Ballagh RH, Hardy DG. Extended temporal bone resection for squamous cell carcinoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;116(6 Pt 1):617–23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Olsen KD, DeSanto LW, Forbes GS. Radiographic assessment of squamous cell carcinoma of the temporal bone. Laryngoscope. 1983;93(9):1162–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Shih L, Crabtree JA. Carcinoma of the external auditory canal: an update. Laryngoscope. 1990;100(11):1215–8.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Ross F. Polytomography of the Temporal Bone (Abridged). J Laryngol Otol. 1963;77(9):737–48.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Goodwin WJ, Jesse RH. Malignant neoplasms of the external auditory canal and temporal bone. Arch Otolaryngol. 1980;106(11):675–9.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Kinney SE, Wood BG. Malignancies of the external ear canal and temporal bone: surgical techniques and results. Laryngoscope. 1987;97(2):158–64.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Kinney SE. Squamous cell carcinoma of the external auditory canal. Am J Otol. 1989;10(2):111–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Arriaga M, Curtin H, Takahashi H, Hirsch BE, Kamerer DB. Staging proposal for external auditory meatus carcinoma based on preoperative clinical examination and computed tomography findings. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1990;99(9 Pt 1):714–21.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Prasad S, Janecka IP. Efficacy of surgical treatments for squamous cell carcinoma of the temporal bone: a literature review. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1994;110(3):270–80.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Tucker WN. Cancer of the middle ear; a review of 89 cases. Cancer. 1965;18:642–50.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    van Es RJ, Nijsen JF, van het Schip AD, Dullens HF, Slootweg PJ, Koole R. Intra-arterial embolization of head-and-neck cancer with radioactive holmium-166 poly(L-lactic acid) microspheres: an experimental study in rabbits. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2001;30(5):407–13.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Balm AJ, Rasch CR, Schornagel JH, Hilgers FJ, Keus RB, Schultze-Kool L, et al. High-dose superselective intra-arterial cisplatin and concomitant radiation (RADPLAT) for advanced head and neck cancer. Head Neck. 2004;26(6):485–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Zuur CL, Simis YJ, Lansdaal PE, Hart AA, Rasch CR, Schornagel JH, et al. Risk factors of ototoxicity after cisplatin-based chemo-irradiation in patients with locally advanced head-and-neck cancer: a multivariate analysis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;68(5):1320–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Ueda Y, Kurita T, Matsuda Y, Ito S, Nakashima T. Superselective, intra-arterial, rapid infusion chemotherapy for external auditory canal carcinoma. J Laryngol Otol Suppl. 2009;31:75–80.Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Sugimoto H, Ito M, Yoshida S, Hatano M, Yoshizaki T. Concurrent superselective intra-arterial chemotherapy and radiotherapy for late-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the temporal bone. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2011;120(6):372–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. 86.
    Sugimoto H, Hatano M, Yoshida S, Sakumoto M, Kato H, Ito M, et al. Efficacy of concurrent superselective intra-arterial chemotherapy and radiotherapy for late-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the temporal bone. Clin Otolaryngol. 2015;40(5):500–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Nakagawa T, Kumamoto Y, Natori Y, Shiratsuchi H, Toh S, Kakazu Y, et al. Squamous cell carcinoma of the external auditory canal and middle ear: an operation combined with preoperative chemoradiotherapy and a free surgical margin. Otol Neurotol. 2006;27(2):242–8; discussion 9.Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Johnson H. Obituary: Frederick A. Figi. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1970;46(6):618–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  89. 89.
    Pahor A, Stansbie J. The Midland Institute of Otology and its Founder: William Stirk Adams (1896–1978). J Laryngol Otol. 1997;111(12):1122–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    Meirowsky A. Eldridge Campbell 1901–1956. J Neurosurg. 1957;14(1):114–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Head and Neck SurgeryThe University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations