Surgical Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2021 Apr;54(2):357-368. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2020.11.008. Epub 2021 Feb 15.


The incidence of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) continues to increase. Understanding of MCC biology has advanced rapidly, with current staging providing valuable prognostic information. MCC treatment often is multidisciplinary. Surgery remains an important component in the staging and treatment, most commonly involving wide excision of the cancer and sentinel lymph node biopsy. Lymphadenectomy is used to treat nodal disease. Radiotherapy enhances locoregional control and possibly survival. Systemic therapies, in particular novel immunotherapies, may be promising in the treatment of advanced or recurrent and metastatic disease.

Keywords: Adjuvant radiation; Lymph node metastases; Merkel cell carcinoma surgery; Sentinel lymph node biopsy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Merkel Cell* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms* / surgery