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The potential contribution of fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis to the cytopathological diagnosis of Merkel cell carcinoma


Dr. Voichita Suciu, Department of Medical Biology and Pathology, Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy, 39 Rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805, Villejuif, France
Tel.: +33 14211 4410; Fax: +33 14211 5280;E-mail:


We report the cases of two patients with head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) who developed local recurrences confirmed by cytopathology. Interphase fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis was performed for research purposes using centromeric probes of chromosomes 6 and 8, on cytological slides. Trisomy of chromosome 6 was found in 85% of tumour cells in the first case of MCC and case 2 exhibited trisomy 8 in 77% of tumour cells. In the absence of specific molecular markers, detection of trisomy 6 and/or trisomy 8 could help in identifying MCC. FISH analysis is easily and quickly performed on interphase nuclei obtained through fine needle aspiration and may be extended to the study of other relevant genetic abnormalities.