Merkel Cell Carcinoma is a cutaneous neuroendocrine neoplasm with propensity for lymphatic spread. Sentinel node biopsy enables the identification of occult nodal metastases. At our institution, we are increasingly utilizing SLNB to patients who present with stage I/II Merkel Cell Carcinoma since 2008. In this retrospective study, we aimed to report the rate of positive SLNB and to assess the impact of SLNB for the management of patients with MCC.
Patients and methods: A total of 12 patients with Stage I or II patients Merkel Cell carcinoma of head and neck who had undergone SLNB were identified over a 4-year period.
Results: Of 12 patients, 1 had a positive SN biopsy. Sentinel node biopsy was not identified in 1 patient. Of the remaining 10 patients who had a negative SN biopsy, 2 had regional lymph node recurrence. During the follow-up period, no patient died.
Conclusion: Merkel Cell Carcinoma is an uncommon but highly aggressive skin malignancy and management protocols have been based mainly on the results of small studies. The role of SLNB in the management of Merkel Cell carcinoma remains to be defined.