Veterinary Society of
Surgical Oncology


  • mean age 7 years for benign tumors and 11 years for malignant tumors
  • no sex predilection
  • benign aural tumors: inflammatory polyp, papilloma, basal cell tumor, and ceruminous gland adenoma
  • ceruminous gland cysts are tumor-like lesions in cats which appear as sessile, blue-black masses
  • malignant aural tumors: ceruminous gland ADC, SCC, and other cutaneous tumors
  • ceruminous gland ADC is more common than ceruminous gland adenoma
  • malignant tumors tend to be locally invasive with a low metastatic potential (15% to regional lymph node and lungs)

Clinical Signs

  • mass
  • aural discharge, odour, pruritis, and local pain
  • neurologic signs in 25% of cats with malignant aural tumors, especially SCC, due to local invasion
  • duration of clinical signs prior to presentation is usually prolonged (months to years)
  • benign tumors are usually raised and pedunculated with rare ulceration
  • malignant tumors usually have a broad base with ulceration and hemorrhage
  • 25% of malignant tumors have bulla involvement


  • otoscope, survey radiographs, and CT


  • surgical resection
  • TECA-LBO for malignant tumors
  • lateral or vertical ear wall resection for benign tumors
  • facial nerve paralysis is 2-times as likely following TECA-LBO in a cat with neoplasia
  • radiation therapy as either primary or adjunctive treatment


  • MST 11.7-50.3 months, but majority of cats die for reasons unrelated to aural tumor
  • malignant aural tumors are more aggressive in cats than dogs
  • poor prognostic factors include neurologic signs, histopathology of SCC or undifferentiated carcinoma, lymphatic or vascular invasion, and conservative surgery
  • MST significantly worse for cats with neurologic signs (1.5 months v 15.5 months)
  • MST significantly better for cats with ceruminous gland ADC (49 months v 3.8 months for SCC and 5.7 months for undifferentiated carcinoma)
  • MST is significantly worse for tumors with lymphatic or vascular invasion (4.0 months v 21.7 months)
  • local tumor recurrence rate (25% v 66%), median DFI (42 months v 10 months), and 12-month survival rate (75% v 33%)
  • mitotic index of < 3 surviving significantly longer than cats with a mitotic index ≥ 3
  • radiation therapy (48 Gy total dose): median DFI 40 months and 12-month survival rate 56%


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