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Metastasis, breast cancer, temporal bone, cranial nerve palsy
Background: Otalgia and Bell’s palsy are rare manifestations of metastasis and the most common presentation of an inflammatory process in the temporal bone.
Case presentation: This article explains a 34-year-old woman with breast cancer who presented with cranial nerve palsy symptoms. The 7th and 8th cranial nerves were involved in the metastatic phase and then hoarseness was added to her symptoms. Brain MRI showed a petrous lesion in the temporal bone due to metastasis, which was the first clue to cancer. Her metastatic workup showed multiple bone lesions. On chest CT scan, multiple lung lesions were noted. Also, a breast mass was discovered on her chest CT scan. On breast examination an irregular mass fixed to the pectoralis muscle was found. Pathologic evaluation of samples obtained through ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma.
Conclusion: Temporal bone metastases are rare and may be asymptomatic, or with mild symptoms mimicking mastoid infections. Physicians should consider metastatic cancer on the list of differential diagnoses in patients presenting with prolonged otologic symptoms or facial nerve disorders.