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November 1984

Merkel Cell Carcinoma (Endocrine Carcinoma of the Skin) of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Goepfert and Remmler and Mr Wheeler) and Pathology (Dr Silva), the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(11):707-712. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800370009002

• Merkel cell carcinoma, also known as endocrine carcinoma of the skin, is a recently recognized and particularly aggressive form of skin cancer that exhibits histologic features similar to those of endocrine malignant neoplasms arising from other tissues. Forty-one patients with Merkel cell carcinoma arising from the cutaneous surfaces of the head and neck were seen at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital, Houston, between 1966 and 1983. Regional lymph node metastasis occur early and frequently, with a 79% overall incidence observed during the course of the disease. Treatment should consist of a wide resection of the primary tumor. A regional lymphadenectomy, when feasible, is successful in controlling nodal metastases. Postoperative radiation is recommended as an important adjuvant.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1984;110:707-712)

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