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Merkel cell carcinoma of the head and neck: poorer prognosis than non-head and neck sites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2016

G B Morand
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
J Madana
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
S D Da Silva
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
M P Hier
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
A M Mlynarek
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
M J Black
Affiliation:
Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

Background:

Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare, aggressive neurocutaneous malignancy. This study investigated whether patients with Merkel cell carcinoma in the head and neck had poorer outcomes than patients with Merkel cell carcinoma located elsewhere.

Methods:

A retrospective study was performed of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma treated at the Jewish General Hospital in Montréal, Canada, from 1993 to 2013. Associations between clinicopathological characteristics and disease-free and disease-specific survival rates were examined according to the Kaplan–Meier method.

Results:

Twenty-seven patients were identified. Although basic clinicopathological characteristics and treatments were similar between head and neck and non-head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma groups, disease-free and disease-specific survival rates were significantly lower in the head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma group (log-rank test; p = 0.043 and p = 0.001, respectively). Mortality was mainly due to distant metastasis.

Conclusion:

Patients with head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma had poorer survival rates than patients with non-head and neck Merkel cell carcinoma in our study. The tendency to obtain close margins, a less predictable metastatic pattern, and/or intrinsic tumour factors related to the head and neck may explain this discrepancy.

Type
Main Articles
Copyright
Copyright © JLO (1984) Limited 2016 

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Footnotes

Presented orally at the SIFORL International Meeting of French ENT Societies, 12–15 June 2014, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

References

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