How is Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) staged?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Guy J Petruzzelli, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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The clinical workup of a patient with MCC should include chest radiographs and computed tomography (CT) scanning of the chest and abdomen. These are utilized to help differentiate a primary MCC with metastasis from a primary lung cell carcinoma with skin metastases. The abdominal CT scan is critical for staging, because MCC preferentially metastasizes to the liver.

Yiengpruksawan and colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developed the staging system for MCC, as follows [39] :

  • Stage Ia - Primary tumor ≤2 cm
  • Stage Ib - Primary tumor >2 cm
  • Stage II - Regional lymph node metastasis
  • Stage III - Distant metastases

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