Merkel cell carcinoma, as first described by Toker, et al. (1) in 1972, and otherwise known as trabecular carcinoma of the skin, neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin, cutaneous APUDoma, primary small cell carcinoma of the skin with endocrine differentiation, is an uncommon, aggressive cutaneous neoplasm. Friederich Merkel first discovered the Merkel cell in 1875. It is a large, clear, usually round or oval cell found in the basal layer of the epidermis. It is found in close association with terminal axons, and is joined to keratinocytes. They are found in highest concentrations in acral skin, namely the fingertips and nasal tip, as well as glabrous skin, hairy skin, and mucous membranes. The exact function of Merkel cells is unclear, but it is generally thought that they are a form of touch receptor (2–4). The origin of Merkel cell carcinoma is controversial as well. It may arise from epidermal Merkel cells, dermal neuroendocrine cells, or poorly differentiated epidermal stem cells.
KeywordsSmall Cell Carcinoma Neuroendocrine Carcinoma Merkel Cell Carcinoma Isolate Limb Perfusion Epidermal Stem Cell
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