Our team based in Seattle conducted a comprehensive review including evolving trends in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This summary covers key decision points, including recommended work-up during initial diagnosis, treatment options for MCC when it’s in one place or has spread, management of recurrent MCC, and new treatments that are showing promise with fewer side effects and good results. This review gives valuable information on how to handle MCC overall and emphasizes new methods that are effective and less toxic on patients.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) of the skin is the most common cancer, with a higher incidence than all other malignancies combined. Although it is rare to metastasize, patients with multiple or frequently recurring BCC can suffer substantial comorbidity and be difficult to manage. Assessment of risk is a key element of management needed to inform treatment selection. The overall management of BCC primarily consists of surgical approaches, with radiation therapy as an alternate or adjuvant option. Many superficial therapies for BCC have been explored and continue to be developed, including topicals, cryosurgery, and photodynamic therapy. Two hedgehog pathway inhibitors were recently approved by the FDA for systemic treatment of advanced and metastatic BCC, and others are in development. The NCCN Guidelines for Basal Cell Skin Cancer, published in full herein, include recommendations for selecting among the various surgical approaches based on patient-, lesion-, and disease-specific factors, as well as guidance on when to use radiation therapy, superficial therapies, and hedgehog pathway inhibitors.