Study Design Case report. Objective Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma with a poor prognosis. Metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is a debilitating disease causing neurologic deficits. The surgical management for MESCC depends on pathology. Methods We report a case of Merkel cell carcinoma of the spine and evaluate the treatment paradigms utilized in the prior reports. Result A 76-year-old man with a history of Merkel cell carcinoma presented with 2-week history of progressive difficulty ambulating and a solitary T5 epidural mass encasing the spinal cord. The patient underwent a T5 corpectomy with cage placement and T3 to T7 posterior fusion with postoperative neurologic improvement and a return to ambulation. Three weeks postoperatively, the patient re-presented with new-onset weakness and widespread metastatic spinal disease with epidural compression at the T8 level. Six weeks postoperatively, he was placed in hospice care. Conclusion Prior reports in the literature demonstrated a poor prognosis for Merkel cell carcinoma metastasis to the spine with survival ranging from 1 to 9 months after diagnosis. Although neurologic decline necessitates a surgical intervention, the assessment of operative benefit should take into account the prognosis associated with the primary tumor subtype.
- Merkel cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Clinical Neurology