Comparative analysis of the epithelium stroma interaction of acquired middle ear cholesteatoma in children and adults

Hans J. Welkoborsky, Roland S. Jacob, Mike L. Hinni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In the clinical setting, pediatric cholesteatomas frequently behave more aggressively than similar lesions in adults. The reason for the difference in behavior is still unclear. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the cell to cell and epithelial-stroma interaction of acquired cholesteatoma in adults and children and search for differences on the cellular level, which might explain the different behavior of these lesions. Operative specimens of 54 patients [40 adults (average age of 39.7 years), 14 children (average age of 8.3 years)] who underwent primary surgery for an acquired cholesteatoma of the middle ear were examined by histopathology and DNA-image cytometry (DNA-ICM). Immunohistochemical investigations included expression of proliferation markers (proliferation cell nuclear antigen and MIB-1) along with cell surface markers reflecting the cell-to-cell interaction (i.e. α1β6-integrin, E-cadherin, I-CAM = CD54), and the epithelial to stroma interaction (i.e. αv and β3 intergin chains, V-CAM = CD106, CD44v6 and fibronectin). Pediatric cholesteatomas demonstrated higher incidence of acute inflammation and more extensive disease relative to those from the adults. Indices of DNA-ICM, however, revealed normal diploid DNA content in both groups. Higher proliferation scores occurred in the pediatric group compared to adult cholesteatoma. Cell surface markers and cell adhesion molecules were equally expressed in both groups except α1β6-integrin and fibronectin, which were over expressed in pediatric cholesteatomas. Statistically, however, these differences showed only a trend towards significance. According to the results of the present study, pediatric and adult cholesteatomas do not show any marked differences on the cellular level. Thus the observed clinical more aggressive behavior of pediatric cholesteatoma is likely due to other secondary factors such as more intense inflammation, disturbed middle ear ventilation or the diminished calcium salt content of pediatric bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-848
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Cell surface markers
  • Cholesteatoma in children and adults
  • DNA-Image cytometry
  • Epithelial to stromal interaction
  • Integrins
  • MIB-1
  • Middle ear
  • PCNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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