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Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Category(ies): Oculoplastics
Contributor: Lucas Lenci, MD

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine tumor. These tumors are quite aggressive in nature with high metastatic and mortality rates. Most arise in the head and neck region. According to one study, the five most common features of MCC at presentation are asymptomatic or lack of tenderness (88%), rapid expansion (63%), immunosuppression (7.8%), older than 50 years of age (90%), and location on UV exposed skin (81%) - leading to the development of the acronym AEIOU to aid in diagnosis.

Merkel cell carcinoma large tumor
Figure 1 is an unusually large tumor.
Merkel cell carcinoma small tumor
Figure 2 is a smaller lesion.
  1. Heath M, Jaimes N, Lemos B, et al. Clinical characteristics of Merkel cell carcinoma at diagnosis in 195 patients: the AEIOU features. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;58(3):375-81.

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