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Cirillo F.,General Surgery Unit | Vismarra M.,General Surgery Unit | Cafaro I.,Radiotherapy Unit and Nuclear Medicine | Martinotti M.,General Surgery Unit
Journal of Oncology | Year: 2012

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin. Fourty-eight patients with MCC were observed at the Rare Hormonal Tumors Group of Cremona Hospital, 15 of these with unknown primary site. Due to rarity of Merkel cell carcinoma, clinical experience is generally limited. Data from our series confirm the current recommendations. Wide surgical excision must be associated with radiotherapy also in early stages in order to avoid local relapse and the rapid progression of disease. In advanced stages chemotherapy is the standard despite the short duration of responses and poor quality of life. The data of our series, characterized by a high demand for second opinion, offer some insight about the real rarity of the tumor, the difficulty of managing of disease in our country secondary to a wrong cultural approach to the problem, the indiscriminate use of molecules unnecessary and often expensive, the lack of protocols, and the presence of guidelines often ignored. This results in very poor survival associated with a very low quality of life, requiring to find the right direction towards a correct management of disease. © 2012 Fernando Cirillo et al.

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