The Interdisciplinary Treatment of Merkel Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Case Analysis and Review of the Current Literature.
Zentralbl Chir. 2009 Sept
Strub B, Weindel S, Witt P, Grünert J.
Klinik für Hand-, Plastische und Wiederherstellungschirurgie Kantonsspital St. Gallen, Schweiz.
BACKGROUND: Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, -aggressive, neuroendocrine malignancy of the skin. Over the period from June 2005 to January 2007 (18 months) 7 Merkel cell carcinomas in different tumour stages and localisations were -treated in our department for hand, plastic and reconstructive surgery. Given an incidence rate of approximately 0.1-0.4 per 100 000 habitants, this accumulation of cases is considerably higher than would be statistically expected. This led us to analyse our cases retrospectively and provided the opportunity to discuss the treatment modalities on the basis of the current literature.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: All patients were referred to our clinic after incomplete tumour excision and histopathological diagnosis elsewhere, for fur-ther surgical treatment. Two female and 5 male patients, aged 63 to 83 years, were treated. The patients' data were collected and analysed retrospectively.
RESULTS: In all cases an R0 resection could be achieved, with safety resection margins between 1.5 cm and 4.5 cm. The reconstruction of the resulting defects was achieved by skin transplants in six cases and a primary suture in one case. All patients received adjuvant radiotherapy. Furthermore, three patients received adjuvant chemotherapy due to metastases of the progressed Merkel cell carcinoma. Three patients remained free of recurrence and in two patients a progression of the tumour disease could be impeded, whilst two patients succumbed to their disease.
CONCLUSIONS: In the case of an early diagnosis, an R0 resection can usually be achieved. A safety -resection margin of a minimum of 1.5 cm in the face and 3 cm for localisation on the extremities should be obtained. To reduce the local recurrence rate, adjuvant radiotherapy should be conducted. The benefit from chemotherapy still -remains unclear. © Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart ˙ New York.