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J Med Case Rep. 2009 May 27;3:7270. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-3-7270.

Spontaneous regression of Merkel cell carcinoma in a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a case report.



Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive primary cutaneous neuroendocrine malignant tumor. The tumor has a high rate of local recurrence after surgical removal. Spontaneous regression appears to be relatively common in this rare type of tumor.


We describe the clinical course, cytological and histological findings of a Merkel cell carcinoma in a 70-year-old Caucasian woman, simultaneously diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia. The tumor showed clinical regression after fine needle aspiration. At primary presentation, the tumor had no apparent leukocyte infiltration, but was completely cleared by T-cell mediated immunity within 3 weeks after fine needle aspiration.


Fine needle aspiration may have acted as a mechanical trigger involved in the activation of cell-mediated immunity, leading to the clinical and histological regression of the tumor. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case report of spontaneous regression of Merkel cell carcinoma in a patient with a co-malignancy, that is to say, chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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