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Can Primary Tumor Site Predict Merkel Cell Carcinoma Outcomes?

Tumors involving the scalp/neck carry the highest cumulative Merkel cell carcinoma-specific mortality incidence

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | July 07, 2021

Tumor primary site may be useful as a prognostic indicator for Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), according to a study published online June 28 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Christopher R. Cullison, from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues used the Survival, Epidemiology, and End Results database (1973 to 2016) to assess the incidence of MCC disease-specific death by tumor primary site.

The researchers identified 9,407 MCC patients, of whom 67.0 percent had localized disease, 25.5 percent had regional metastasis, and 7.5 percent had distant metastasis. Cumulative MCC-specific mortality incidence (CMMI) was predicted by tumor primary site and varied by stage at diagnosis. Among those with localized MCC, tumors involving the scalp/neck carried the highest CMMI (26.0 percent). Among patients with regional and distant metastasis, tumors involving the lip had the highest CMMI (56.7 and 82.1 percent, respectively).

"Our findings should encourage future research on care pathways accounting for the differential mortality risk based on tumor primary site that MCC patients might face after their primary treatment," the authors write.

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