Systematic literature review of efficacy, safety and tolerability outcomes of chemotherapy regimens in patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma

Future Oncol. 2017 Jun;13(14):1263-1279. doi: 10.2217/fon-2017-0072. Epub 2017 Mar 28.


Aim: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine, cutaneous malignancy with poor prognosis once metastasized. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic literature review to assess clinical outcomes associated with chemotherapy regimens in metastatic MCC.

Materials & methods: Embase®, MEDLINE®, MEDLINE®-In-Process and CENTRAL were searched for studies published in January 2016.

Results & conclusion: Overall, the literature on chemotherapy in patients with metastatic MCC is sparse, with most studies being case series/reports. Across all studies, response rates ranged from 20 to 61%, with higher response rates in first-line setting (53-61%) versus second-line setting (23-45%). Among responders, duration of response was short (≤8 months) in both first- and second-line settings. There is a need for novel agents that can induce durable responses in metastatic MCC.

Keywords: Merkel cell carcinoma; checkpoint inhibitors; chemotherapy; immunotherapy; metastasis; systematic literature review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell / pathology
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis*
  • Treatment Outcome