Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

Merkel Cell Carcinoma Treatment (PDQ®)

Health Professional Version
Last Modified: 03/07/2014

Stage III Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Current Clinical Trials

Stage III Merkel cell carcinoma includes patients with nodal disease.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Margin-negative local excision, attempting to maintain function.

  2. Sentinel node procedure, possibly followed by more definitive regional node surgery if positive node(s) are found.

  3. Local and regional nodal radiation, especially if there is concern about the adequacy of the primary tumor excision margin or the risk of local-regional recurrence following the nodal surgery (e.g., multiple primary nodes, extracapsular extension, lymphovascular invasion, and evidence of in-transit metastases).

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Systemic chemotherapy might be administered to patients thought to be of the highest risk of recurrence with the understanding that existing data have not proven a clinical survival benefit. 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 III 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.