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Am J Clin Oncol. 1995 Jun;18(3):199-203.

Cutaneous neuroendocrine (Merkel cell) carcinoma. A report of 35 cases.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA.


Cutaneous neuroendocrine (Merkel cell) cancer (CNEC) is a rare skin tumor with a highly malignant nature. Initial treatment of this tumor has often been limited to a local excision. The medical records of 35 patients diagnosed with CNEC and treated at Southern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Group or UCLA Medical Center between 1980 and 1991 were reviewed. There were 26 male and 9 female patients were enrolled in this study. Minimum follow-up from date of diagnosis was 18 months, mean follow-up was 40 months; 25 patients presented with local disease (stage I) and 10 patients presented with regional disease (involved nodes, stage II). Patients who were treated initially with local therapy alone had a 65% recurrence rate and a 29% mortality rate, while those patients treated locoregionally at presentation had only a 27% recurrence rate and 14% mortality rate, although the majority presented with more advanced disease. Due to the high incidence of lymph node failure and death in patients treated locally versus locoregionally at presentation, we feel that planned locoregional treatment is indicated for all patients presenting with CNEC, regardless of stage.

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