Carcinoma of the external auditory canal (EAC) is a rare tumor and little information is available regarding parotid gland in surgically treating EAC carcinomas. This study aimed to investigate the mode of parotid involvement in EAC carcinoma through staging and histopathological analysis, and to establish surgical guidelines for the parotid gland management when there is no clinical evidence of parotid involvement. Sixty-five patients with EAC carcinoma who underwent temporal bone resection and any type of parotidectomy simultaneously were retrospectively reviewed. The rate of direct parotid invasion and parotid nodal involvement was analyzed according to the stage and histopathological findings. Among the 65 patients, 39 were confirmed to have squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 26 were confirmed to have adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). Direct parotid invasion occurred in 7 of 39 patients with SCC, only in the advanced stages, and in 15 of 26 patients with ACC, regardless of stage. Metastasis to the parotid node was noted in 6 patients with advanced-stage SCC, whereas no patient with ACC showed parotid nodal metastasis. For adequate tumor control with low risk of surgical complications, evidence based tailored parotidectomy should be applied. With no evidence of parotid involvement, an elective parotidectomy can be excluded in early SCC, whereas a total parotidectomy is recommended for advanced SCC. In ACC, basal resection of the parotid gland rather than a superficial or total parotidectomy should be performed at all disease stages.
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