Merkel cell carcinoma and HIV infection.

February 9, 2002


The Lancet Oncology

Publication Date

February 9, 2002


Engels EA, Frisch M, Goedert JJ, Biggar RJ, Miller RW

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Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare skin cancer that occurs more frequently after organ transplantation or B-cell malignancy, conditions of suppressed or disordered immunity. To assess further whether immune suppression increases MCC risk, we studied its occurrence in a cohort of 309365 individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by using linked AIDS and cancer registries. We identified six cases of MCC, corresponding to a relative risk of 13.4 (95% CI 4.9-29.1) compared with the general population. These results suggest that immune suppression induced by the human immunodeficiency virus increases MCC risk.

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