What is the role of electron microscopy 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

Electron microscopy can be used to confirm the diagnosis of MCC, when needed.

The most characteristic findings are perinuclear bundles of intermediate filaments and electron-dense neurosecretory granules (see image below). These features virtually confirm the diagnosis of MCC.

Electron photomicrograph of a Merkel cell carcinom Electron photomicrograph of a Merkel cell carcinoma shows a dense core granule (arrow).

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