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Eur J Med Res. 2010 Jun 28;15(6):274-6.

Primary merkel cell carcinoma clinically presenting as deep oedematous mass of the groin.

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Department of Dermatology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a relatively rare, polyomavirus associated, primary neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin which is usually arising from dermal skin layers. However, the origin of MCC in the subcutaneous tissue is debatable. We report a 58-year-old female patient with an oedematous mass on her left groin that was firm in consistency and had no discoloration or other visible abnormality of the overlying skin. On histology and immunohistology the tumour was consistent with the diagnosis of MCC showing a predominant subcutanous growth pattern. Pelvic magnetic resonance tomography revealed a tumour conglomerate reaching from the subcutis of the left groin to the left paraaortal and parailiacal region indicating widespread lymphogenic metastisation. Despite complete medical work-up no other MCC primary could be detected. In conclusion, predominant subcutaneous growth pattern as well as tumour localization in the groin are uncommon features of MCC. MCC showing the aforementioned features may be associated with significant delay of diagnosis and therefore represents an unfavourable prognostic factor.

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