A comprehensive review of the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma

Tony Y. Eng, Melisa G. Boersma, Clifton D. Fuller, Virginia Goytia, William E. Jones, Melissa Joyner, Dominic D. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an uncommon but malignant cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma with a high incidence of local recurrence, regional lymph node metastases, and subsequent distant metastases. The etiology of MCC remains unknown. It usually occurs in sun-exposed areas in elderly people, many of whom have a history of other synchronous or metachronous sun-associated skin lesions. The outcome for most patients with MCC is generally poor. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment. The role of adjuvant therapy has been debated. However, data from recent development support a multimodality approach, including surgical excision of primary tumor with adequate margins and sentinel lymph node dissection followed by postoperative radiotherapy in most cases, as current choice of practice with better locoregional control and disease-free survival. Patients with regional nodal involvement or advanced disease should undergo nodal dissection followed by adjuvant radiotherapy and, perhaps, systemic platinum-based chemotherapy in most cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)624-636
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemotherapy
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Multimodality management
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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