Clinicopathological features, MCPyV status and outcomes of Merkel cell carcinoma in solid-organ transplant recipients: a retrospective, multicentre cohort study

Ferrandiz-Pulido C., Gomez-Tomas A., Llombart B., Mendoza D., Marcoval J., Piaserico S., ...More

JOURNAL OF THE EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY AND VENEREOLOGY, vol.36, no.11, pp.1991-2001, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jdv.18256
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1991-2001
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


Background The proportion of Merkel cell carcinomas (MCCs) in solid-organ transplant recipients (SOTR) harbouring Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is unknown, as are factors affecting their outcomes. Objective To describe clinicopathological features of MCC in SOTR, investigate the tumoral MCPyV-status and identify factors associated with tumour outcomes. Methods Retrospective, international, cohort-study. MCPyV-status was investigated by immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction. Results A total of 30 SOTR and 44 consecutive immunocompetent patients with MCC were enrolled. SOTR were younger at diagnosis (69 vs. 78 years, P < 0.001). Thirty-three percent of SOTR MCCs were MCPyV-positive vs. 91% of immunocompetent MCCs (P = 0.001). Solid-organ transplantation was associated with an increased cumulative incidence of progression (SHR: 3.35 [1.57-7.14], P = 0.002), MCC-specific mortality (SHR: 2.55 [1.07-6.06], P = 0.034) and overall mortality (HR: 3.26 [1.54-6.9], P = 0.002). MCPyV-positivity and switching to an mTOR inhibitor (mTORi) after MCC diagnosis were associated with an increased incidence of progression (SHR: 4.3 [1.5-13], P = 0.008 and SHR: 3.6 [1.1-12], P = 0.032 respectively) in SOTR. Limitations Retrospective design and heterogeneity of SOTR cohort. Conclusions MCPyV appears to play a less prominent role in the aetiopathogenesis of MCC in SOTR. SOTR have a worse prognosis than their immunocompetent counterparts and switching to an mTORi after the diagnosis of MCC does not improve progression.