The exact prediction of outcome of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) of the skin is difficult to determine, although several attempts have been made to identify clinico-pathologic prognostic factors. The Ki67 proliferative index is a well-known marker routinely used to define the prognosis of patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms. However, its prognostic value has been poorly investigated in MCC, and available published results are often contradictory mainly because restricted to small series in the absence of standardized methods for Ki67 evaluation. For this reason, we explored the potential prognostic role of Ki67 proliferative index in a large series of MCCs using the WHO standardized method of counting positive cells in at least 500 tumor cells in hot spot areas on camera-captured printed images. In addition, since MCC may be considered as the cutaneous counterpart of digestive neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs), we decided to stratify MCCs using the available and efficient Ki67 threshold of 55%, which was found prognostic in digestive NECs. This choice was also supported by the Youden index analysis. In addition, we analyzed the prognostic value of other clinico-pathologic parameters using both univariate and multivariate analysis. Ki67 index appeared significantly associated with prognosis at univariate analysis together with stage IV, lack of MCPyV, and p63 expression, but not at the multivariate analysis, where survival resulted independently influenced by p63 expression and tumor stage, only.
- Disease-specific survival
- Ki67 standardized count
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Overall survival
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism