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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 2000 April;13(2):101-4

language: Italian

Merkel cell carcinoma. Literature review and a case report

Bonariol L., Tiso E., Biral M., Behboo R., Mascarin C., Mingardi E., Cecchetto A., Sandei F.


Merkel cell carcinoma, described originally by Toker in 1972, is a primitive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin characterized by high biological aggressiveness and predisposition for local regional and distant spread. Although surgical treatment with wide excision and postoperative irradiation to the local site and regional lymphatics is recommended, local recurrence and regional lymph node metastases occur in 40-75% of cases and long term prognosis is unfavorable (3 years survival rate is 55%). The clinical presentation is not useful for a certain diagnosis and histopathologic studies with immunohistochemistry stains are required for a differential diagnosis versus melanoma, metastatic small-cell carcinoma, adult neuroblastoma, lymphoma, hemangioma. A case of Merkel cell carcinoma, incidentally observed at histopathologic examination after excision of a painless nodule on the left thigh, is reported.

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