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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2008 Jun;72(6):775-86. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Mar 19.

Langerhans' cell histiocytosis of the temporal bone in children.

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ENT Otology and Neurotology - CHU Sainte-Justine, 3175, Côte Sainte-Catherine, Service ORL, Montréal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada.



Langerhans' cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare pathology that implies an abnormal proliferation of these kinds of cells associated with a granular infiltration that affects different structures of the human body, including the temporal bone. The authors present their series of LCH of the temporal bone in children at the Sainte-Justine university hospital. The twofold objective of this study is to illustrate the clinical presentation, management and prognosis of this disease, and to compare these results with previously reported series.


A retrospective study was conducted between 1984 and 2007 with patients diagnosed and treated for a LCH of the temporal bone at the Sainte-Justine university hospital, a paediatric tertiary care center. A chart review was performed to obtain demographic, clinical, paraclinical, and therapeutic data. They were analysed and compared to other published series. Through a MEDLINE query, we found that since 1966, 50 articles dealing with a LCH of the temporal bone have been published.


Fifty-nine cases of LCH were diagnosed and among them, 10 children had temporal bone involvement. They were four females and six males with a mean age of 3.28 years. The two most frequent clinical manifestations were the presence of a mass in the temporal region (70%) and otitis (60%). Two of our patients had a unifocal lesion of the temporal bone implicated. Eight patients had a multisystem involvement among which, two showed evidence of organ dysfunction. In 80% of cases, the diagnosis was made by immunohistochemical findings of the S-100 protein and/or the CD1 antigen. The common radiological finding on a skull CT scan is a lytic lesion in the temporal bone. Seven patients were treated by chemotherapy, two were treated by radiotherapy as a primary treatment, and one received radiotherapy for a recurrence on the pituitary gland. Finally, one patient was treated with local steroid injections. Two patients had a recurrence. All our patients were in total remission on a mean average of 1.6 years after the diagnosis. Our results concord with other studies in which the prognosis of unifocal bone disease is excellent and children with a multifocal disease have a survival rate of 65-100%.


LCH is a rare disease. A high-index suspicion should be raised in the context of a temporal mass, chronic otitis, and otorrhea. A biopsy is recommended in the presence of a temporal bone lytic lesion. Chemotherapy is the preferred therapeutic modality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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