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Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version

Stage I and II Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Stage I and II Merkel cell carcinoma include patients with local disease only.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Margin-negative local excision, attempting to maintain function.
  2. Surgical nodal evaluation, typically by sentinel node procedure initially, may be considered for patients thought to have significant risk of nodal disease. Completion of the nodal dissection may be considered if positive nodes are found, which would upstage the patient to stage III.
  3. Local radiation may be considered if there is concern about the adequacy of the primary tumor excision margin. Regional radiation may be considered if the nodal staging procedure is incomplete or omitted. For sites where the location of primary regional nodes may be uncertain (e.g., mid-back), regional-node field selection would be problematic.

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Enrollment in clinical trials is encouraged.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin and stage II neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

  • Updated: March 7, 2014