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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 854024, 17 pages
Review Article

Updates and Knowledge Gaps in Cholesteatoma Research

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, No. 201, Section 2, Shipai Road, Beitou District, Taipei City 11217, Taiwan
2Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, No. 155, Section 2, Linong Street, Taipei City 11221, Taiwan
3Department of Otolaryngology, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, No. 155, Section 2, Linong Street, Taipei City 11221, Taiwan
4Department of Otolaryngology, Taoyuan Armed Forces General Hospital, No. 168, Zhongxing Road, Longtan District, Taoyuan City 32551, Taiwan
5Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, No. 325, Section 2, Chenggong Road, Neihu District, Taipei City 114, Taiwan
6Department of Otolaryngology, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, Heath Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 5PD, UK
7Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1 Mukogawacho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture 663-8131, Japan
8Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Klinikum Bielefeld, Teutoburger Straße 50, 33604 Bielefeld, Germany
9Department of Pediatrics, Mackay Memorial Hospital, No. 92, Section 2, Zhongshan N. Road, Taipei City 10449, Taiwan

Received 1 January 2015; Revised 4 March 2015; Accepted 4 March 2015

Academic Editor: Peter S. Roland

Copyright © 2015 Chin-Lung Kuo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The existence of acquired cholesteatoma has been recognized for more than three centuries; however, the nature of the disorder has yet to be determined. Without timely detection and intervention, cholesteatomas can become dangerously large and invade intratemporal structures, resulting in numerous intra- and extracranial complications. Due to its aggressive growth, invasive nature, and the potentially fatal consequences of intracranial complications, acquired cholesteatoma remains a cause of morbidity and death for those who lack access to advanced medical care. Currently, no viable nonsurgical therapies are available. Developing an effective management strategy for this disorder will require a comprehensive understanding of past progress and recent advances. This paper presents a brief review of background issues related to acquired middle ear cholesteatoma and deals with practical considerations regarding the history and etymology of the disorder. We also consider issues related to the classification, epidemiology, histopathology, clinical presentation, and complications of acquired cholesteatoma and examine current diagnosis and management strategies in detail.