Benign mesenchymal tumors of the external ear: A series of 14 cases

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2019 Aug:41:62-68. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2019.05.011. Epub 2019 May 20.


Primary soft tissue tumors of the head and neck region are relatively uncommon. Most are not distinctive to this region. Benign mesenchymal tumors of the external ear are rare. Some are common tumors but unusual in this location. All of the reported cases were single case reports or small series. Our aim was to study the prevalence and spectrum of different types of benign mesenchymal tumors that involve the external ear in our institution, to find out whether any lesion is distinctive to this site, their potential clinical associations and to highlight their potential diagnostic challenges. We performed a retrospective review study over 13 years. We retrieved 14 cases of external ear tumors. They included two cases of leiomyomas, two hemangiomas, three neurofibromas, two xanthogranulomas, three osteomas, a lipoma and a sclerotic fibroma. The age range was between 8 and 61 years with an average age of 34.2 years. The male to female ratio was 1.3 to 1. The average size was 8 mm. They were miscellaneous uncommon lesions and most were not unique to the external ear. Meatal osteomas and auricular angioleiomyomas are not infrequent with some predilection to the ear. With the exception of neurofibromatosis type-1, they were solitary nonsyndromic lesions. Multiplicity can be a hint to a syndrome. Clinically, benign external ear mesenchymal tumors can be confused with neoplastic and nonneoplastic lesions. Histopathologic examination is needed for proper classification. Benign soft tissue tumors of the external ear are generally easy histologic diagnosis. Immunohistochemistry is needed to confirm the diagnosis in certain tumors showing overlapping features.

Keywords: Benign; Ear; External; Mesenchymal; Nodules; Polyps; Tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Ear Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Ear, External / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Young Adult