It was a very exciting time for Merkel cell research at this years annual meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology which took place in Chicago, Illinois from May 8-11, 2019. Neha Singh, a research scientist working under Dr. Paul Nghiem, presented her recent findings that suggest baseline imaging is recommended in all Merkel cell carcinoma patients, even those without palpable lymph nodes. These findings come as a surprise as current National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for MCC are based off of those for melanoma, which do not recommend baseline imaging when there is no palpable disease. Her analysis showed that 12% of MCC patients without palpable lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis did in fact have regional or distant metastasis. This contrasts to melanoma, where only 1% of patients without palpable disease are found to have regional or distant metastasis at diagnosis. This data suggests that administering scans for all Merkel cell carcinoma patients is favorable and doing so will ensure patients are receiving the most appropriate management. To read more about this presentation please click here.
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January 21, 2020