Prognostic Factors in Merkel Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Single-Center Study in 90 Patients

Marco Rastrelli, Beatrice Ferrazzi, Francesco Cavallin, Vanna Chiarion Sileni, Jacopo Pigozzo, Alessio Fabozzi, Saveria Tropea, Antonella Vecchiato, Alessandra Costa, Alessandro Parisi, Carlo Riccardo Rossi, Paolo Del Fiore, Mauro Alaibac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare but highly aggressive neuroendocrine neoplasm of the skin. This study aimed at describing characteristics, treatment, and prognosis of a series of consecutive cases of MCC patients, in order to contribute to the investigation of this rare malignancy and provide better patient care. This is a retrospective cohort study including all 90 patients diagnosed and/or treated for MCC between 1991 and 2018 at the Veneto Institute of Oncology in Padua (Italy). Patient and tumor characteristics, treatment, and immunohistochemical data were extracted from a prospectively collected local database. There were 68 primary (76%) and 22 non-primary (15 occult primary, three metastatic, four recurrence) tumors (24%). CK20 expression was associated with reduced overall (HR 2.92, 95% CI 1.04⁻8.16) and disease-specific (HR 4.62, 95% CI 1.31⁻16.28) survival. Immunomodulatory regimens for treatment of other comorbidities were associated with reduced disease-specific ((HR 2.15, 95% CI 1.06⁻4.36) and recurrence-free (HR 3.08, 95% CI 1.44⁻6.57) survival. Iatrogenic immunomodulation resulted as the main factor associated with impaired prognosis. Lack of CK20 expression was associated with better survival.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 24 2018


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