How we treat Merkel cell carcinoma: within and beyond current guidelines

Park SY, Doolittle-Amieva C, Moshiri Y, Akaike T, Parvathaneni U, Bhatia S, Zaba L, Nghiem P

Future Oncol. doi: 10.2217/fon-2020-1036

PMID: 33511866

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Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive skin cancer associated with a high risk of local recurrence and distant metastasis. Optimal care of this potentially life-threatening cancer is critical but challenging because: physicians are often unfamiliar with its management due to rarity, and MCC management remains controversial, in part because it is rapidly evolving across multiple specialties. While guidelines offer a broad overview of management, they are often not sufficient when making decisions for individual patients. Herein, we present a literature review as well as practical approaches adopted at our institutions for staging, surveillance and therapy of MCC. Each of these areas are discussed in light of how they can be appropriately customized for prevalent but challenging situations. We also provide representative examples of MCC patient scenarios and how they were managed by a multidisciplinary team to identify suitable evidence-based, individualized treatment plans.

Future Oncol. doi: 10.2217/fon-2020-1036