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Merkel Cell Carcinoma: Five Case Reports Using Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and a Review of 110 New Cases

Pan, Deborah M.D.; Narayan, Deepak M.D.; Ariyan, Stephan M.D., M.B.A.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: October 2002 - Volume 110 - Issue 5 - p 1259–1265
doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000025287.96915.88

Merkel cell carcinoma is an uncommon cutaneous tumor that is considered locally aggressive and often spreads regionally through lymphatic channels. Evaluation of surgical treatment methods has been hampered by the low incidence of this tumor. Current standards of treatment include wide surgical excision and regional lymphadenectomy if clinically suspicious nodes are present. However, the development and increasing use of sentinel node imaging and biopsy have expanded the diagnostic options. This article presents information on 110 Merkel cell carcinomas treated in Connecticut between 1990 and 1997. Statistics on gender, age, disease location, treatment, and mortality are reviewed. Using the census data for Connecticut, the annual incidence for this disease was calculated to be 0.42 cases per 100,000 people. A series of five cases treated with wide excision and sentinel lymph node biopsy is also presented. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 110: 1259, 2002.)

New Haven, Conn.

From the Section of Plastic Surgery and the Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine. Received for publication September 14. 2001; revised December 17, 2001.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on October 5, 2001.

Deborah Pan, M.D. Yale University School of Medicine Department of Plastic Surgery PO Box 208041 New Haven, Conn.

©2002American Society of Plastic Surgeons