European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 248, Issue 8, pp 436–441 | Cite as

Merkel cell carcinoma of the head and neck associated with Bowen's disease

  • P. Schenk
  • K. Konrad
Original Investigations


The Merkel cell carcinoma occurs primarily in the skin of the head and neck, and develops in the dermis with a trabecular growth pattern. Immunohistochemistry reveals positive staining for neuron-specific enolase, neurofilaments, cytokeratin and chromogranin A. Electron microscopically, the tumor cells contain dense-core granules, spinous cytoplasmic processes, desmosomes, zonulae adherentes and paranuclear filament aggregates besides frequent mitoses, focal necroses and lymphocyte and plasma cell infiltrates. The Merkel cell carcinoma is often co-existent with other malignancies such as squamous cell carcinoma or, as in the present study, with Bowen's disease. The definite diagnosis of the Merkel cell carcinoma can be effected only by electron microscopic examination of the tumor.

Key words

Merkel cell carcinoma Neuroendocrine carcinoma Bowen's disease Immunohistochemistry Electron microscopy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Schenk
    • 1
  • K. Konrad
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology IIUniversity of Vienna Medical SchoolViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology IUniversity of Vienna Medical SchoolViennaAustria

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