Epidemiological, Clinicopathological and Virological Features of Merkel Cell Carcinomas in Medical Center of University of Pécs, Hungary (2007–2012)

Katalin Barbara Horváth, P. Pankovics, E. Kálmán, Zsolt Kádár, Zita Battyáni, Zsuzsanna Lengyel, G. Reuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, highly aggressive skin tumour. In 2008, a Merkel cell polyomavirus (MC) was identified in MCCs as a potential etiological factor of MCC. The aims of this retrospective study were to investigate the epidemiological, clinicopathological and virological features of MCCs. Between 2007 and 2012, 11 patients had been diagnosed with MCC by histological methods in University of Pécs, Hungary. In eight MCC cases MC was tested by PCR (in primary skin lesions, lymph nodes/cutan metastases, MCC neighboring carcinomas). Clinicopathological characteristics (age, histological pattern, lymphovascular invasion, co-morbidities) of MC-positive and MC-negative cases were compared. MC was detected in three (37.5 %) out of eight patients’ primary tumour or metastasis. The average age was 73.8 (64.3 in MC-positive group). Except the youngest, 55 year-old patient (the primary tumour appeared on his leg), all tumours were found at the head and neck region. Immunosuppression (steroid therapy, chronic lymphoid leukaemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and/or old age were characteristic for all cases. Histological pattern was different in MC-positive and in MC-negative groups: MCCs with MC showed more homogeneous histological pattern, lack of lymphovascular invasion and were associated with better prognosis (mortality rate: 33 % versus 80 %). MCC associated with oncogenic virus is a newly recognized clinical entity. However, MC could not be detected in all histologically proven MCCs. The well-defined selection of patients/disease groups and better characterization of differences between MC-positive and negative cases is an important step towards the recognition of the etiology and pathogenesis of all MCCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalPathology and Oncology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016



  • DNA tumour virus
  • Merkel cell carcinoma
  • Merkel cell polyomavirus
  • Skin tumour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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