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American Journal of Dermatopathology:
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e31823b9b4e
Original Study

Detection of Merkel Cell Polyomavirus and Human Papillomaviruses in Merkel Cell Carcinoma Combined With Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Immunocompetent European Patients

Mitteldorf, Christina MD*; Mertz, Kirsten D. MD†,‡; Fernández-Figueras, Maria T. MD§; Schmid, Mirka BSc; Tronnier, Michael MD*; Kempf, Werner MD

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Abstract

Background: About 10% of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) suffer from an associated squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In European patients, Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is detectable in 60%–88% of the MCC tumors. In combined lesions, MCPyV was not detectable so far.

Methods: We investigated 2 combined tumors of MCC and SCC for the presence of MCPyV and human papillomavirus (HPV) by polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry.

Results: In both lesions, MCPyV DNA was found, and in 1 case, HPV DNA was also detected. This is the first report of a coinfection with HPV and MCPyV in combined MCC–SCC tumors.

Conclusions: The results underline the hypothesis of cocancerogenesis of 2 oncogenic viruses in nonmelanoma skin cancer. Technical reasons and a low viral copy number of MCPyV hampering immunohistochemical detection may be responsible for the negative results in the literature.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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