Merkel cell carcinoma and HIV infection

Lancet. 2002 Feb 9;359(9305):497-8. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(02)07668-7.


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare skin cancer that occurs more frequently after organ transplantation or B-cell malignancy, conditions of suppressed or disordered immunity. To assess further whether immune suppression increases MCC risk, we studied its occurrence in a cohort of 309365 individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by using linked AIDS and cancer registries. We identified six cases of MCC, corresponding to a relative risk of 13.4 (95% CI 4.9-29.1) compared with the general population. These results suggest that immune suppression induced by the human immunodeficiency virus increases MCC risk.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / complications*
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • SEER Program
  • Skin Neoplasms / complications*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology