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Merkel Cell Carcinoma – Current State and the Future

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 2 ]


Patricia Tai, Khanh Vu, Vamsee Torri, Derek Suderman and Arbind Dubey   Pages 79 - 86 ( 8 )


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare type of skin cancer. It is the first human cancer known to be associated with a polyomavirus. The vast majority of publications are case reports. Our goal is to discuss practical suggestions for the treatment, based on our clinical experience and a review of the literature. Surgery is the initial treatment of choice. Radiotherapy is used as primary or adjuvant treatment. The chemotherapeutic approach follows that of neuroendocrine neoplasms, using cisplatin and etoposide. Researchers are looking into other active drugs which have been used for melanoma including temozolomide, and PD-1 inhibitors. Scientists are studying mutations in MCC to identify potential targets for more effective systemic treatments. We hope this review will be useful for clinicians to apply current principles and provide food for thought to improve treatment outcomes.


Chemotherapy, polyomavirus, radiotherapy, surgery.


Allan Blair Cancer Center, Regina, SK S4T 7T1, Canada.

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