Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare type of skin cancer. It is the first human
cancer known to be associated with a polyomavirus. The vast majority of publications are
case reports. Our goal is to discuss practical suggestions for the treatment, based on our
clinical experience and a review of the literature. Surgery is the initial treatment of choice.
Radiotherapy is used as primary or adjuvant treatment. The chemotherapeutic approach
follows that of neuroendocrine neoplasms, using cisplatin and etoposide. Researchers are
looking into other active drugs which have been used for melanoma including temozolomide,
and PD-1 inhibitors. Scientists are studying mutations in MCC to identify potential
targets for more effective systemic treatments. We hope this review will be useful for
clinicians to apply current principles and provide food for thought to improve treatment
Keywords: Chemotherapy, polyomavirus, radiotherapy, surgery.
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