What is the association between Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV)?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Arjun S Joshi, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

In 2008, a paper by Feng et al found an association between MCC and a polyomavirus. This association has been a major topic of the literature over the past 5 years. The virus, now named Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV), was consistently found to be clonally integrated in 80% of MCC tumors. [5, 6, 7] There is strong evidence for a causative role of this virus. [8] Research into the genome of MCV is expanding and specific proteins are being explored for their clinical utility. For example, it was found that the large T antigen (LT) of MCV is critical for carcinogenesis. The LT can now be used for immunohistochemical diagnosis and is the target for future treatment. [9, 10, 11, 12]


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