J Pathol Transl Med.  2020 Mar;54(2):184-187. 10.4132/jptm.2019.11.07.

Primary carcinoid tumor in the external auditory canal

  • 1Department of Pathology, Gil Medical Center, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology, Gil Medical Center, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea


A 39-year-old man visited the department of otolaryngology due to an ongoing hearing disturbance that had lasted for 1 year. Temporal bone computed tomography revealed soft tissue density nearly obliterating the left external auditory canal (EAC). The mass was composed of sheets of round tumor cells containing moderate amounts of fine granular cytoplasm and salt and pepper chromatin. Neither mitosis nor necrosis was found. The Ki-67 proliferation index was less than 2%. Cells were positive for CD56 and synaptophysin but negative for chromogranin, cytokeratin (CK) 20, and CK7. Based on these findings, the tumor was diagnosed as a carcinoid tumor, well differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma, grade 1 (G1) according to current World Health Organization (WHO) classification of head and neck tumors; and a neuroendocrine tumor, G1 according to neuroendocrine neoplasm (NEN)-2018 WHO standard classification. He remained free of local recurrence and metastasis after 20 months of follow up. To date, only six cases of primary NENs in the EAC have been reported. Metastatic tumor should be included in the differential diagnoses. Because of its rarity, the prognosis and treatment have not yet been clarified.


Carcinoid tumor; Neuroendocrine neoplasms; Carcinoma, neuroendocrine; External auditory canal
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