2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase



Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Julia Oxford


Cholesteatoma occurs in the middle ear, mastoid or petrous bone. It’s a destructive, tumorous lesion that gradually expands and leads to complications by destroying other structures. Cholesteatomas are characterized by the intrusion of keratinizing stratified epithelium in the middle ear and once the epithelium begins to hyperkeratinize, the cholesteatoma is initiated and becomes destructive. It can occur in both children and adults, but males are more likely than females to have it. There are two types of cholesteatoma: congenital (several defined congenital types) and acquired. Currently, the only treatment available is surgery, which has not yet been curative for patients with congenital cholesteatoma. However, more progress has been made on the role that differentiation and activation by receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL - secreted by synovial fibroblasts, T cells, and B cells) plays in the bone erosion of the middle ear and surrounding bone. These studies have identified a potentially targetable receptor for a more definitive treatment.

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