Skin Cancer - Merkel Cell Carcinoma Questions & Answers

Updated: Jul 22, 2019
  • Author: James M Pearson, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Questions & Answers

Overview

What is Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What are the symptoms of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), and how is it diagnosed and treated?

What are the complications of Merkel cell carcinoma, and how can the disease be avoided?

How and when was the Merkel cell first identified?

How is Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) characterized?

Where do Merkel cell carcinomas (MCCs) most commonly occur?

Why is Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) difficult to diagnose?

What is the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) involving the head and neck?

What is the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma in comparison to melanoma?

Is the incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) increasing or decreasing?

What are the characteristics of the Merkel cell?

What is the origin of the Merkel cell?

What is the function of the Merkel cell?

Which physical findings are associated with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Workup

What are the diagnostic guidelines for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Which lab studies may be performed in the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Which imaging studies may be performed in the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Which histologic studies may be required to confirm a diagnosis of Merkel call carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of light microscopy in the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What are the histological classifications of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of electron microscopy in the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma?

What staging systems can be used for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Treatment

What are the treatment guidelines for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Which treatment approaches to Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) are supported by research results?

What is the role of avelumab (Bavencio) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

When is surgery indicated in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the recommended treatment for stage I Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the recommended treatment for stage II Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the recommended treatment for stage III Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the recommended follow-up after treatment for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the prognosis of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Where are metastases most likely to occur in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), and what is the mortality rate of metastatic MCC?

What are the survival and disease-specific death (DSD) rates associated with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of Mohs surgery in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of sentinel lymph node biopsy in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

What is the role of chemotherapy in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Medications

What is the role of avelumab and pembrolizumab in the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Which medications in the drug class PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors are used in the treatment of Skin Cancer - Merkel Cell Carcinoma?