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Staging and treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma

Author
Patricia Tai, MB, BS, DABR, FRCR, FRCPC
Section Editors
Robert S Stern, MD
June K Robinson, MD
Michael B Atkins, MD
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD

INTRODUCTION

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) of the skin is a rare, aggressive cutaneous malignancy that predominantly affects elderly Caucasians and has a propensity for local recurrence and regional lymph node metastases. Other terms used to describe this tumor include neuroendocrine or primary small cell carcinoma of the skin, trabecular cell carcinoma, and anaplastic cancer of the skin.

The staging and treatment of MCC are discussed here. The clinical features and initial diagnosis of MCC are reviewed separately. (See "Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis of Merkel cell (neuroendocrine) carcinoma".)

TNM STAGING SYSTEM

The 2010 tumor (T) node (N) metastasis (M) staging system provides important information for both patient management and prognosis. The TNM system is recommended by both the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the International Union for Cancer Control (UICC) (table 1) [1].

Stage I – Primary tumors ≤2 cm maximum tumor dimension, without evidence of regional lymph node involvement

Stage II – Primary tumors >2 cm (T2 or T3) or a primary tumor with invasion into bone, muscle, fascia, or cartilage (T4), without evidence of lymph node involvement

                            

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Thu Jun 30 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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