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.
Nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are some of the most commonly diagnosed malignancies. In general, early-stage NMSCs have favorable outcomes; however, a small subset of patients develop resistant, advanced, or metastatic disease, or aggressive subtypes that are more challenging to treat successfully. Recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC), and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Although ICIs have demonstrated activity against NMSCs, the routine clinical use of these agents may be more challenging due to a number of factors including the lack of predictive biomarkers, the need to consider special patient populations, the management of toxicity, and the assessment of atypical responses. With the goal of improving patient care by providing expert guidance to the oncology community, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts to develop a clinical practice guideline (CPG). The expert panel drew on the published literature as well as their own clinical experience to develop recommendations for healthcare professionals on important aspects of immunotherapeutic treatment for NMSCs, including staging, biomarker testing, patient selection, therapy selection, post-treatment response evaluation and surveillance, and patient quality of life (QOL) considerations, among others. The evidence- and consensus-based recommendations in this CPG are intended to provide guidance to cancer care professionals treating patients with NMSCs.