Metastatic Lesions to the Temporal Bone

  • Paul W. Gidley
  • Marc-Elie Nader


Metastatic lesions to the temporal bone are relatively rare in clinical practice, but the temporal bone is often involved by metastatic disease in autopsy studies. The most common site for metastatic involvement is the petrous portion of the temporal bone. Breast, lung, prostate, melanoma, kidney, and stomach cancers are the most likely primary tumors to produce temporal bone metastases. Hearing loss, otorrhea, vertigo, and facial paralysis are the most common symptoms of temporal bone metastasis; however, a large proportion of metastatic lesions to the temporal bone are asymptomatic. In the patient with a history of malignant disease, the differential diagnosis should include metastasis when patients present with otologic complaints. Diagnostic imaging with CT and MRI, especially when combined with PET/CT or whole-body bone scan, usually leads to the diagnosis. Surgical resection of metastatic disease in the temporal bone is typically not warranted because temporal bone metastases are usually a sign of widespread metastatic disease.


Metastasis Temporal bone metastasis Breast cancer Lung cancer Kidney cancer Stomach cancer Larynx cancer Prostate cancer Cervical cancer Melanoma Petrous apex 


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© 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

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