Merkel cell carcinoma masquerading as cellulitis: a case report and review of the literature

F. Safa, M. Pant, C. Weerasinghe, R. Felix, T. Terjanian


Merkel cell carcinoma (mcc) is an uncommon malignancy of the skin arising from cells located in the deeper layers of the epidermis called Merkel cells. This malignancy rarely presents as a metastatic disease, and the field is therefore deficient in regards to management. We report the case of a 49-year-old woman who presented with a presumptive diagnosis of osteomyelitis of the left fifth digit that was resistant to treatment with antibiotics; she underwent debridement of the digit that revealed mcc and was later to have metastatic disease to her lungs, liver, and musculoskeletal system. The management of mcc, although simple in the early stage of the disease, can become challenging when it is more advanced. Multiple new modalities for its treatment have emerged over the last few years, and more recently, clinical trials are being conducted for the use of immunotherapy agents in the treatment of this malignancy.


Merkel cell carcinoma; Merkel cell polyoma virus; skin neoplasm; metastatic

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)