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Cancers 2014, 6(3), 1256-1266; doi:10.3390/cancers6031256
Review

Diagnosis and Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Current Trends and Controversies

 and *
Received: 18 March 2014; in revised form: 9 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 27 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Merkel Cell Carcinoma)
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Abstract: Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive neuroendocrine cutaneous malignancy with a predilection for regional and distant metastasis. This malignancy presents most commonly on the head and neck of elderly Caucasian males, with a higher prevalence in the immunosuppressed. A high index of suspicion must be maintained due to the often asymptomatic presentation. Lip tumors, scalp tumors, local invasion, nodal metastasis, distant metastasis, and lymphovascular invasion are poor prognostic factors. Up to 8.7% of patients present with distant metastasis, and PET-CT is an accurate staging tool with a 90% sensitivity. Combined aggressive surgical resection with adjuvant radiotherapy affords the best regional control rates. The regional lymphatics must be addressed with either sentinel lymph node biopsy, surgery, or elective radiation due to the risk of occult metastasis. Addition of chemotherapy has no proven benefit in locoregional control.
Keywords: merkel cell carcinoma; skin malignancy; cutaneous neoplasm; head and neck cancer; cutaneous malignancy; skin cancer; neuroendocrine tumor merkel cell carcinoma; skin malignancy; cutaneous neoplasm; head and neck cancer; cutaneous malignancy; skin cancer; neuroendocrine tumor
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Swanson, M.S.; Sinha, U.K. Diagnosis and Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Current Trends and Controversies. Cancers 2014, 6, 1256-1266.

AMA Style

Swanson MS, Sinha UK. Diagnosis and Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Current Trends and Controversies. Cancers. 2014; 6(3):1256-1266.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Swanson, Mark S.; Sinha, Uttam K. 2014. "Diagnosis and Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck: Current Trends and Controversies." Cancers 6, no. 3: 1256-1266.



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