Otolaryngology Department, University Hospital of Modena, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100, Modena, Italy, email@example.com.
The aim of this study was to perform a systematic literature review of Merkelcell carcinomas (MCCs) originating exclusively in the ear, nose and throat (ENT) district. An appropriate string was run on PubMed to retrieve articles dealing with ENT presentations of MCC. A double cross-check was performed on citations and full-text articles found using the selected inclusion and exclusion criteria. In total, 43 articles were finally included in the study, describing 51 cases of MCC involving the ENT region: 22/51 (43 %) cases involving the ear; 20/51 (39 %) cases involving the mucosal sites; 9/51 (18 %) cases involving other ENT regions. Patients with mucosal site involvement showed a higher mortality rate from the disease (45 %) in comparison with the other two groups, especially when compared with those patients having primary involvement of the ear (22 %). The ENT specialist should suspect and consider MCC, especially in elderly patients presenting with a suspicious lesion of the auricular pavilion, so as to avoid misdiagnosis and delayed treatments.
Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and lethal cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma. Imaging is crucial for accurate staging, which remains a strong predictor of survival, as well as earlier detection of recurrence and progression, which are common despite aggressive management. There is no consensus on the role of initial and subsequent imaging for MCC.
We sought to evaluate the use of 2-fluoro-[(18)F]-deoxy-2-D-glucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) in the management of MCC.
In all, 270 FDG-PET/CT studies were performed in 97 patients with pathology-proven MCC at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, Mass, from August 2003 to December 2010.
FDG-PET/CT scans were obtained as part of the initial (61 scans in 61 patients) and subsequent (209 scans in 79 patients) treatment strategies. MCCs were FDG-avid with a mean maximum standardized uptake value of primary lesions of 6.5 (range 1.3-12.9) and a mean maximum standardized uptake value of regional and distant metastases of 7.2 (range 1.5-9.9). FDG-PET/CT upstaged 16% of patients who underwent baseline scans. FDG-PET/CT studies showed that bone and bone-marrow metastases were more common than previously reported, and were often undetected by CT.
Our study is limited by its retrospective design, and potential referral bias associated with a tertiary care center.
FDG-PET/CT performed as part of the initial management strategy tended to upstage patients with more advanced disease. FDG-PET/CT performed as part of the subsequent treatment strategy identified metastatic disease, particularly in bone/bone marrow, which was not seen on CT. FDG-PET/CT imaging is a valuable staging and restaging tool in MCC management.
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
BOSTON – Use of fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging has an impact on how Merkel cell carcinoma patients are diagnosed or treated in about a third of cases, researchers said here.
In fact, 64 of 194 scans (33%) performed on 123 consecutive patients with Merkel cell carcinoma had a 'high' impact -- defined as a change in treatment or treatment plans -- on care, Michael MacManus, MD, of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, reported at the American Society of Radiation Oncology meeting.
That result broke down as follows, according to McManus:
In 102 scans performed for staging, 23 (23%) had 'high' impact and 15 (15%) had 'medium' impact
In 39 scans performed to assess response to disease, 17 (44%) had high impact and none had 'medium' impact
In 53 scans performed for re-staging at the time of suspected relapse, 24 (45%) had 'high' impact and 6 (11%) had medium impact
"Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma," MacManus said. The disease arises in hair follicles and appears to be related to ultraviolet light and Merkel cell polyoma virus. The disease is easily pinpointed with PET imaging, and yet the largest study to date included a mere 12 patients, he said.
The primary endpoint of the study was to show that PET would have at least a 10% high impact or a 25% high or medium impact. MacManus said his finding met those criteria (P<0 .001=".001" b="b">0>
Among the other findings in the study, the researchers found that of the 23 staging PET scans with 'high impact,' 14 resulted in a change in treatment, 5 caused a change in treatment intent, and 4 resulted in changes in both treatment modality and radiotherapy techniques.
MacManus also noted that 22% of patients had incongruent staging between conventional and PET staging. The use of PET scans upstaged 17 patients -- four because of occult distant disease and 13 because of occult nodal disease.
On the other hand, PET imaging downstaged five patients – two of whom were suspected of having Stage 4 disease and 3 who were thought to have had Stage 3 disease, MacManus said.
PRAGUE – Add Merkel cell carcinoma to the seemingly ever-growing list of malignancies linked to vitamin D deficiency.
A multicenter French study involving 89 patients with histologically confirmed Merkel cell carcinoma indicates that individuals with this rare and often aggressive neuroendocrine skin malignancy have an increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, the vitamin D–deficient subgroup had a greater mean tumor size at diagnosis and sharply worse outcomes, Dr. Mahtab Samimi reported at the annual caongress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
Fifty-eight of the 89 (65%) Merkel cell carcinoma patients were vitamin D deficient as defined by a serum level below 50 nmol/L. During follow-up, 33 patients developed nodal and/or distant metastases and 19 died of Merkel cell carcinoma. The 4-year Merkel cell carcinoma–free survival rate was 40% in the vitamin D deficient group and more than 90% in patients with normal-range vitamin D. The metastasis-free survival rate at 4 years was 20% in vitamin D–deficient patients and 70% in those without serum vitamin D deficiency.
In a multivariate regression analysis, low vitamin D was independently associated with an adjusted 2.89-fold increased risk of developing nodal and/or distant metastases and a 5.28-fold increased risk for death from their malignancy, reported Dr. Samimi of Francois Rabelais University in Tours, France.
The multivariate analysis was adjusted for age, gender, immune status, tumor location, time of year of the serum vitamin D measurement, and Merkel cell polyomavirus DNA levels.
It’s biologically plausible that a patient’s vitamin D status influences Merkel cell carcinoma behavior, according to Dr. Samimi. She and her coworkers analyzed 19 primary tumor specimens and 9 nodal metastases and found every single one strongly expressed the vitamin D receptor.
"The active metabolites of vitamin D bind to the vitamin D receptor, which is able to regulate genes involved in cell cycle control and others that have anti-inflammatory effects," the dermatologist explained.
Other investigators have shown that melanoma, too, is affected by a patient’s vitamin D status. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with thicker melanomas at diagnosis and reduced survival, she noted.
Dr. Samimi stressed that the newly shown association that she and her coworkers have found between vitamin D deficiency and worse-prognosis Merkel cell carcinoma must be considered hypothesis-generating rather than proof of causality. Serum vitamin D wasn’t measured until an average of 3 months after cancer diagnosis.
Asked by the audience if she screens her patients with Merkel cell carcinoma or melanoma for vitamin D deficiency, Dr. Samimi replied affirmatively. And if they’re deficient, as is so often the case, she puts them on vitamin D supplementation.
"The protective role of doing this in terms of cancer prognosis is not proven, but at the very least the supplementation has beneficial effects on skeletal and muscle health, so it’s a good thing," she said.
In a separate study, Dr. Nicolas Kluger of the University of Helsinki presented national Finnish data showing a predisposition of Merkel cell carcinoma for the left side of affected patients.
The comprehensive Finnish Cancer Registryis thought to have captured all 177 Finns diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma in a recent 20-year period. Fifty-six percent of the tumors were on the left, 37% on the right, and 7% occurred on the midline.
Tumors located on the trunk were equally likely to be left or right sided, but tumors on the head and neck were 3.2-fold more likely to be on the left side. Merkel cell carcinomas arising on the forearm or hand were fourfold more likely to occur on the left than the right side. On the leg and foot, the left-sided excess was 2.4-fold. Tumors located on the face were 1.5-fold more likely to occur on the left side.
These Finnish data confirm an earlier U.S. study involving a much larger patient population: 2,384 individuals with Merkel cell carcinoma included the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database, Dr. Kluger noted. In the U.S. study, 52.7% of the cancers occurred on the left side. On the arm it was 55%, while on the face it was 52%, but there was no difference in lateral distribution of the tumors on the legs (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2011;65:35-9).
The same large U.S. study also showed an excess of left-sidedness in the distribution of melanomas among 82,587 affected patients in the SEER registry.
Since ultraviolet light exposure figures in the pathogenesis of both of these serious skin cancers, one leading theory regarding the explanation for the left-sided predominance of Merkel cell carcinoma and melanoma involves increased driver-side UV exposure while operating motor vehicles. Dr. Kluger finds this explanation unlikely. Although steering wheels are placed on the left side of vehicles in Finland, as in the United States, left-side predominance of these skin cancers also has been reported in countries such as Scotland, where drivers stick to the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right, he noted.
In Finland, there was a significant excess of Merkel cell carcinomas on the left side in nearly every year of the 20-year study. That means if the skewed lateral distribution of the tumors is due to some as-yet-unidentified environmental factor, it’s a factor that hasn’t changed in 20 years, Dr. Kluger observed.
"For now it’s an interesting curiosity," he commented.
Both Dr. Kluger and Dr. Samimi reported having no financial conflicts.
Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN, USA ; Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Veterans Affairs Nashville, TN, USA ; Current address: Austin Pathology Associates 901 W. Ben White Blvd., Austin, TX, USA.
Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive neoplasm of the skin that shows frequent lymph node metastases, but has only rarely been reported in the bone marrow. Herein we report a case of a 64-year-old male with a history of plasma cell myeloma and recent skin diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma who presented for a routine follow-up bone marrow to assess his myeloma. The biopsy showed persistent plasma cell myeloma, trilineage dysplasia, and clusters of neuroendocrine cells consistent with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma. Discussion of this case, a review of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, and identification of clinical settings in which staging bone marrow biopsy may be warranted are presented.
Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, 1701 Divisadero Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but aggressive carcinoma of the skin, arising most commonly in sun-exposed sites of elderly patients. The diagnosis is based on characteristic histopathologic features. In 2008, the discovery of the Merkelcell polyomavirus led to intensified research into the viral pathogenesisis of MCC. MCC staging guidelines were established in 2010, and it demonstrated the importance of distinguishing clinical vs. pathologic evaluation of lymph nodes in MCC. Surgery and/or radiation is of the mainstay of therapy for early disease, while chemotherapy is reserved for more advanced disease. Treatments based on immunologic mechanisms are currently in development.
Department of Dermatology, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, FL 33612-4272, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but highly aggressive cutaneous malignancy with a mortality rate exceeding that of melanoma. Although smaller studies of markers of progression have been performed, large-scale investigation has been difficult due to the rarity of this tumor. Investigation of 4 potential immunohistochemical progression markers using an MCC tissue microarray was performed. An immunohistochemical analysis of CXCR4, E-cadherin, Bcl-2, and Survivin was performed on a tissue microarray of two hundred twenty-seven 0.6-mm tumor cores-110 primary, 73 local/regional metastatic, and 44 distant metastatic-from 87 patients, 23 of which were sampled 2 or more times. There was a statistically significant increase in immunoreactivity to CXCR4 and Survivin in local/regional nodal MCC metastases compared with primary and distant metastatic lesions. No significant differences by disease location were found for either Bcl-2 or E-cadherin. These results suggest a potential role for CXCR4 and Survivin in MCC tumor progression. However, previous data from other studies suggesting a role for Bcl-2 and E-cadherin in MCC progression are not confirmed in this larger sample. Further discovery of additional markers are needed to better characterize this rare but deadly malignancy.
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland, email@example.com.
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive dermal tumour of neuroendocrine origin. The recently found Merkelcellpolyomavirus (MCV) integrates clonally in the tumour genome, which suggests an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. Previous small-scale studies have detected anti-apoptotic protein bcl-2 in 80 % of MCC tumours, but its correlation to the prognosis of MCC remains controversial. Our aim was to clarify the correlation of immunohistochemical expression of bcl-2 to MCV presence and MCC prognosis. We analyzed 116 primary MCC specimens with corresponding clinical data by immunohistochemistry for bcl-2. The presence of MCV DNA had been analyzed by quantitative PCR for 108 tumours. The correlations were analyzed statistically. Of the primary MCC samples, 85 % were bcl-2 positive. No significant differences in MCV DNA occurred between the bcl-2-positive and bcl-2-negative tumours. Local and systemic metastasis was more common in patients with bcl-2 negative tumours (33 %) than in patients with bcl-2-positive tumours (12 %; p = 0.04) at the time of diagnosis. The mean overall survival was higher in patients with bcl-2-positive tumours than of those with negative tumours (mean survival 1,814 days (5.0 years) vs. 769 days (2.1 years), p = 0.01). Bcl-2 positivity indicates better clinical stage at the time of diagnosis and a longer survival in MCC.
Division of Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology, Tottori University Faculty of Medicine, Yonago, Japan.
It has recently been shown that approximately 80% of Merkelcell carcinomas harbor a novel polyomavirus named Merkelcellpolyomavirus (MCPyV). MCPyV has been detected in human tissue samples. However, detailed distribution of MCPyV in non-neoplastic Japanese human tissues remains unclear. To address this, we used single or real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for 41 autopsy cases. PCR revealed MCPyV-DNA in non-neoplastic samples: total, 29/41 (71%); adult, 29/39 (74%); fetus or infant, 0/2; men, 24/28 (86%); women, 5/13 (38%); total human tissues, 66/572 (12%); skin, 8/15 (53%); adrenal gland, 9/33 (27%), and other 16 organs (4-25%). This study first reported the presence of MCPyV-DNA in non-neoplastic tissues of thyroid gland, adrenal gland, spleen, bone marrow, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, heart, and aorta. PCR revealed that viral load ranged from 0.00026 to 0.22 in all MCPyV-positive tissues compared with Merkel cell carcinoma samples. These detailed PCR data showed higher prevalence of MCPyV infection in Japanese men than women (p = 0.004) and broad distribution of MCPyV with low viral load in more non-neoplastic human tissues than in the previous reports. These data provide valuable insights for further studies of MCPyV infection and MCPyV-related diseases.
Department of General Surgery, General Surgery Unit, Rare Hormonal Tumors Group, Surgery of Rare Hormonal Tumors, Azienda Ospedaliera Istituti Ospitalieri, Viale Concordia 1, 26100 Cremona, Italy.
Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin. Fourty-eight patients with MCC were observed at the Rare Hormonal Tumors Group of Cremona Hospital, 15 of these with unknown primary site. Due to rarity of Merkel cell carcinoma, clinical experience is generally limited. Data from our series confirm the current recommendations. Wide surgical excision must be associated with radiotherapy also in early stages in order to avoid local relapse and the rapid progression of disease. In advanced stages chemotherapy is the standard despite the short duration of responses and poor quality of life. The data of our series, characterized by a high demand for second opinion, offer some insight about the real rarity of the tumor, the difficulty of managing of disease in our country secondary to a wrong cultural approach to the problem, the indiscriminate use of molecules unnecessary and often expensive, the lack of protocols, and the presence of guidelines often ignored. This results in very poor survival associated with a very low quality of life, requiring to find the right direction towards a correct management of disease.
A human polyomavirus was recently discovered in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) specimens. The Merkelcell polyomavirus (MCPyV) genome undergoes clonal integration into the host cell chromosomes of MCC tumors and expresses small T antigen and truncated large T antigen. Previous studies have consistently reported that MCPyV can be detected in approximately 80% of all MCC tumors. We sought to increase the sensitivity of detection of MCPyV in MCC by developing antibodies capable of detecting large T antigen by immunohistochemistry. In addition, we expanded the repertoire of quantitative PCR primers specific for MCPyV to improve the detection of viral DNA in MCC. Here we report that a novel monoclonal antibody detected MCPyV large T antigen expression in 56 of 58 (97%) unique MCC tumors. PCR analysis specifically detected viral DNA in all 60 unique MCC tumors tested. We also detected inactivating point substitution mutations of TP53 in the two MCC specimens that lacked large T antigen expression and in only 1 of 56 tumors positive for large T antigen. These results indicate that MCPyV is present in MCC tumors more frequently than previously reported and that mutations in TP53 tend to occur in MCC tumors that fail to express MCPyV large T antigen.
Am old enough to understand the difference between the Bay of Pigs - and roasting a pig at a epicurian feast. Been thru the hippy, yippie and yuppie years - always remaining who I am.
Very much believe in "Sing your own song - weave your own tapestry"
Am young enough to still know the thrill of new discoveries, the beauty of the evening, to celebrate the joy of another tommorow.
Survived these many decades with a severe medical problems. Sorting out the maze of now having two lymphomas and all their nasty little companions, but I continue.
Besides, being a simple iconoclastic eclectic, have been called many things. An incurable romanticist - with a strong touch of reality. Thinker, intellectual (God, how I hate that term) - been told I am a lion with the heart of the poet.
Know how to wage war and conquer my foes - but would rather be known as one who brings hope and life. To bring hope into anothers life is the ultimate of joys.
Life should be about bringing hope, peace, vision... a sense of purpose beyond yourself.