When is biopsy indicated in the diagnosis of a Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) tumor?

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

Answer

Biopsy must be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

On light microscopy, MCC appears as small, round, basophilic cells arranged in sheets, rests, or trabeculae (see image below) involving the dermis and usually sparing the epidermis.

Note the small, round, basophilic cells arranged i Note the small, round, basophilic cells arranged in sheets, rests, or trabeculae in this Merkel cell carcinoma. The cells possess hyperchromatic nuclei, minimal cytoplasm, and frequent mitotic and apoptotic figures (hematoxylin-eosin stain).

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