Merkel cell carcinoma in immunosuppressed patients

Janice E. Ma, Jerry D. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive cutaneous malignancy. The infectivity of Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), an apparent agent in MCC development, may be exacerbated with impaired immune responses. This paper reviews relevant data regarding the role of immunosuppression in the development of MCC and describes modes of immunodeficient states. Because of the inherently low incidence rate of MCC, several case studies and series are also briefly mentioned to provide a more comprehensive summary of MCC in the setting of immunosuppression. We describe immunosuppressed patients who have experienced excessive UV radiation, organ transplantation, human immunodeficiency virus infection/AIDS, autoimmune diseases, and lymphoproliferative disorders. Iatrogenic forms of immunosuppression are also highlighted. Studies that quantify risks consistently report that individuals with a history of solid organ transplantation, autoimmune diseases, AIDS, and/or lymphoproliferative diseases have a significantly elevated risk of developing MCC. Overall, immunocompromised patients also appear to have an early onset and more aggressive course of MCC, with poorer outcomes. Recommendations for multidisciplinary approaches are proposed to effectively prevent and manage MCC in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1328-1350
Number of pages23
JournalCancers
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Immunocompromised patients
  • Immunosuppression
  • Merkel cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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