Funding sources None.
Advances in Merkel cell carcinoma pathogenesis and management: a recently discovered virus, a new international consensus staging system and new diagnostic codes
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. BJD © 2011 British Association of Dermatologists
British Journal of Dermatology
Volume 166, Issue 1, pages 16–21, January 2012
How to Cite
Nicolaidou, E., Mikrova, A., Antoniou, C. and Katsambas, A.D. (2012), Advances in Merkel cell carcinoma pathogenesis and management: a recently discovered virus, a new international consensus staging system and new diagnostic codes. British Journal of Dermatology, 166: 16–21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10562.x
Conflicts of interest None declared.
- Issue published online: 27 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 8 AUG 2011 11:44PM EST
- Accepted for publication 29 July 2011
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare but aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin with a rising incidence and a high mortality rate. It occurs primarily in sun-exposed skin of older individuals. It is characterized by a high rate of local recurrence, regional lymph node metastases and distant metastases, occurring even after prompt treatment. Many controversies exist regarding its pathogenesis and optimal management. The discovery of Merkel cell polyomavirus has been a major breakthrough in understanding the aetiology of the disease. A recently adopted new international consensus staging system in combination with new international diagnostic codes are expected to facilitate future clinical trials and improve the management of patients. According to recent (2010) guidelines, most patients should be managed with a combination of surgery and radiotherapy.