Which molecular findings are characteristic of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Guy J Petruzzelli, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Molecular Basis

As mentioned, MCPyV undoubtedly plays a role in the molecular basis of MCC. However, karyotypic abnormalities have also been identified in chromosomes 1, 11, and 13. [38] Further, molecular characterization has implicated two tumor suppressor genes involved in the molecular pathogenesis of MCC: (1) P73, a member of the TP53 family of tumor suppressors localized on chromosome 1 and (2) SDHD (succinate-ubiquinone oxidoreductase subunit D), localized on chromosome 11. [39, 40]

Programmed cell death of ligand 1, which has been shown to be important in SCCs and melanomas, seems to play a similar role in the propagation of MCC. This presents as a  future target for chemotherapy. [41]

A study by Behr et al indicated that a strong association exists between the existence of tertiary lymphoid structures in the MCC's microenvironment and recurrence-free survival. [42]


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