Although only a few of the malignant tumors of the skin develop in the external ear, they are more frequent than one would expect. These tumors recur and develop metastases more often than tumors in other sites. Because of this and because of surrounding vital structures, these tumors have a poor prognosis. Surgical therapy, that is, wide excision, is better than radiotherapy. Many methods for reconstruction of the external ear have been published, and sometimes plastic protheses are acceptable. From 1982 to 1986, 17 patients with malignant tumors of the external ear were treated in our center. There were 15 men and 2 women. The mean age was 73 years. There were 4 basal cell and 12 squamous cell carcinomas, and 1 patient had malignant melanoma of the external ear. Nine of these tumors were on the helix. During the follow-up period, 6 patients had local recurrent disease. In 7 patients, reexcision had to be performed several times after incomplete excision. Six patients are alive without any sign of the disease, and 3 patients died.