Transcriptome-wide studies of merkel cell carcinoma and validation of intratumoral CD8+ lymphocyte invasion as an independent predictor of survival.

April 20, 2011


Journal of Clinical Oncology

Publication Date

April 20, 2011


Paulson KG, Iyer JG, Tegeder AR, Thibodeau R, Schelter J, Koba S, Schrama D, Simonson WT, Lemos BD, Byrd DR, Koelle DM, Galloway DA, Leonard JH, Madeleine MM, Argenyi ZB, Disis ML, Becker JC, Cleary MA, Nghiem P.

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Dr. Kelly Paulson reports in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that “killer CD8 T cells,” when present inside MCC tumors, predict excellent survival after MCC diagnosis. This study began by examining thousands of genes in MCC tumors. The initial finding was that survival was better among patients who had evidence of CD8 killer T cells in their tumors. Studies in a larger, independent set of 146 MCC patients showed that survival was improved if the CD8 T cells actually invaded into (not just nearby) the tumor. This test can now be performed by pathologists to give a better sense of chances of beating MCC at the time of the initial biopsy.


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a polyomavirus-associated skin cancer that is frequently lethal and lacks established prognostic biomarkers. This study sought to identify biomarkers that improve prognostic accuracy and provide insight into MCC biology.

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