[A 73-year-old man with a Merkel cell carcinoma]

Albert Schweitzer Ziekenhuis, Dordrecht.
Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde 10/2010; 154(42):A1974.
Source: PubMed


A 73-year-old man had a firm node on his right upper arm, which was caused by a Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). The diagnosis was made on the basis of characteristic histopathological findings and a surgical excision with wide margins followed. Twenty months later a considerable swelling manifested in the right armpit due to a metastasis. During a CT scan of the thorax and abdomen, 2 suspicious abnormalities were seen in the mesenterial adipose tissue of the left lower abdomen and left perirenal adipose tissue. A tissue sample of the last abnormality taken under CT guidance confirmed this to be a metastasis of the MCC. The patient was irradiated but chose not to have chemotherapy. He died 2 years after the diagnosis. Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive malignant skin neoplasm. Early recognition facilitates cure of the disease. Treatment is multidisciplinary, but surgery, either alone or in combination with radiotherapy, forms the basis of treating both the localised and regionalized forms of the disease. Chemotherapy may be used in case of disseminated disease and has a reasonable, albeit temporary, effect. The 10-year survival rate varies from 20-70%, dependent on the stage of the disease.

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