Merkel cell carcinoma: Overall survival after open biopsy versus wide local excision

Head Neck. 2016 Apr;38 Suppl 1:E1014-8. doi: 10.1002/hed.24148. Epub 2015 Jul 18.


Background: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin with a dismal prognosis.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective medical chart review of patients with MCC who were initially diagnosed with an open biopsy (n = 30) or wide local excision (n = 24).

Results: Stages I, II, and III disease was found in 38%, 20%, and 16%, respectively. The 2-year and 5-year overall and disease-specific survival rates were 64.8% and 38.8% versus 45.2% and 26.4%, respectively. Cox regression multivariate model, including tissue sampling technique, re-resection, therapy modalities, pathological staging, and T and N classifications, showed that patients diagnosed initially with an open biopsy have significant worse overall (p = .014) and disease-free (p = .005) survival rates compared with patients who had a wide local excision.

Conclusion: This study showed an improved overall survival in patients with MCC after wide local excision compared to open biopsy of the primary site at first diagnosis. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 38: E1014-E1018, 2016.

Keywords: Merkel cell carcinoma; open biopsy; overall survival; retrospective; wide local excision.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy*
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Margins of Excision*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome