Merkel cell carcinoma: Epidemiology, prognosis, therapy and unmet medical needs

Dirk Schadendorf*, Celeste Lebbe, Axel zur Hausen, Marie-Francoise Avril, Subramanian Hariharan, Murtuza Bharmal, Juergen C. Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

202 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare skin cancer that is associated with Merkel cell polyomavirus infection in most cases. Incidence rates of MCC have increased in past decades. Risk factors for MCC include ultraviolet light exposure, immunosuppression and advanced age. MCC is an aggressive malignancy with frequent recurrences and a high mortality rate, although patient outcomes are generally more favourable if the patient is referred for treatment at an early stage. Although advances have been made recently in the MCC field, large gaps remain with regard to definitive biomarkers and prognostic indicators. Although MCC is chemosensitive, responses in advanced stages are mostly of short duration, and the associated clinical benefit on overall survival is unclear. Recent nonrandomised phase 2 clinical trials with antiePD-L1/PD-1 antibodies have demonstrated safety and efficacy; however, there are still no approved treatments for patients with metastatic MCC. Patients with advanced disease are encouraged to participate in clinical trials for treatment, indicating the largely unmet need for durable, safe treatment within this population. (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Keywords

  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus
  • Epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Therapy
  • PATHOLOGICAL NODAL EVALUATION
  • CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC-LEUKEMIA
  • ADJUVANT RADIATION-THERAPY
  • UNKNOWN PRIMARY ORIGIN
  • SKIN-CANCER
  • POLYOMAVIRUS INFECTION
  • STAGE-I
  • EXPRESSION PROFILES
  • ONCOLOGY-GROUP
  • UNITED-STATES

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