Auricular and Periauricular Skin Cancers

  • Blair Barton
  • Brian Moore


Cutaneous malignancy is the most common cancer worldwide and has been estimated to account for approximately one million new cases each year in the United States alone. Basal cell carcinoma makes up the overwhelming majority of these cases, accounting for 80%. The remainder is made up by squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma. Approximately 80–90% of these malignancies appear on sun-exposed areas of the head and neck, and the auricle is estimated to be involved at an incidence of 5–10%.

Historically, cutaneous tumors of the auricle were thought to have similar malignant potential as other subsites. However, squamous cell carcinoma of the auricle has been shown to have a greater metastatic potential than other subsites, potentially related to its different histologic behavior with sun exposure compared to the rest of the body. Auricular melanoma was originally associated with a poorer prognosis; however, recent literature shows that survival outcomes of melanoma of the auricle are similar to those at other subsites of the body.

Treatment of advanced auricular lesions should involve a multidisciplinary tumor board approach. Due to its prominent location, the functionality and cosmetic appearance of the auricle require special attention during multidisciplinary management.


Auricle Ear Periauricular Squamous cell carcinoma Basal cell carcinoma Merkel cell carcinoma Melanoma Parotidectomy Sentinel lymph node biopsy Chemotherapy Radiation therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blair Barton
    • 1
  • Brian Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, Ochsner Health SystemNew OrleansUSA

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