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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001 Aug;45(2):303-8.

Early experience with sentinel lymph node mapping for Merkel cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Cutaneous Oncology Division, Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Merkel cell or cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma is a malignant tumor with a propensity toward local and systemic recurrence. A new surgical technique, intraoperative lymphatic mapping and selective sentinel lymph node dissection (SSLND), has been demonstrated to have a high predictive value for the detection of metastatic disease in the regional lymphatic basin in cutaneous melanoma. The use of this technology may be particularly useful to accurately stage patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) because this tumor has a frequent propensity toward regional nodal metastases. Intraoperative lymphatic mapping and SSLND were performed on 6 patients with biopsy-proven MCC. Three patients with MCC had positive disease in the sentinel lymph node(s). SSLND is a feasible technique with minimal procedural morbidity to detect clinically occult disease in patients with MCC.

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