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Ear Pathology Online

Pathology of Melanocytic Tumours of the Ear

Dr Sampurna Roy MD  


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The external auditory canal is an uncommon location for the nevi that are common benign tumours of the skin.


Melanomas arising in the head and neck region comprise some 20% of all melanomas; of these, 7-15% occur in the vicinity of the external ear (most often on the helix).

Auricular melanomas, like those arising elsewhere, are rare in childhood and are most often first diagnosed in men in their 50s.

Melanomas of the external ear may present as flat pigmented lesions or as raised mass lesions, amelanotic (non-pigmented) variants exist as well.

Auricular melanomas are frequently recognized pathologically as either superficial spreading melanomas or nodular melanomas.

These tumors are aggressive, with a propensity for spreading to both regional lymph nodes and distant sites.

Key pathologic prognostic features of auricular melanomas include the histological subtype, tumor thickness, level of invasion and presence of ulceration.

Therapy includes both aggressive surgical attempts at excision in combination with sentinel node sampling in some instances and perhaps, adjuvant therapy as well.


Further reading


An intradermal nevus of the external auditory meatus.

Pigmented nevus of the external auditory canal.

Intradermal melanocytic nevus of the external auditory canal.

Intradermal nevus of the external auditory canal: a case report.

Intradermal nevus of the ear canal.


Malignant melanoma of the pinna.Importance of its diagnosis, treatment and prognostic factors.

Melanoma of the ear: treatment and survival probabilities based on 199 patients.

Melanoma of the ear: prognostic factors and surgical strategies.

Auricular malignant melanoma of early childhood: the role of sentinel node biopsy.

Malignant melanoma of the auricle.

External ear melanoma .

Malignant melanoma of external ear: 14 cases report.

Malignant melanoma of the external auditory canal.


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Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)








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