Small cell carcinoma in the parotid harboring Merkel cell polyomavirus

Clayton A. Fisher, Paul W. Harms, Jonathan B. McHugh, Paul C. Edwards, Javed Siddiqui, Nallasivam Palanisamy, Christopher K. Bichakjian, Erika Benavides, Theodora E. Danciu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Objective This study aimed to document three new cases of primary small cell carcinoma (SmCC) of the parotid and examine immunohistochemical and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) data of the recently developed Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) within these tumors. Study Design Immunohistochemistry for neuroendocrine markers (chromogranin A, CD56, CD57, neuron-specific enolase [NSE], thyroid transcription factor 1 [TTF-1]), epithelial markers (CK20, CK7, CAM 5.2), and MCPyV large T antigen (LTAg) were examined. qPCR and Sanger sequencing were performed to confirm the presence of the MCPyV LTAg gene. Results Two males and one female, average age 76 years, presented with left parotid masses. Clinical examinations, histories, and imaging studies were negative for cutaneous Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), pulmonary and extrapulmonary SmCC, or any other malignancy. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated positive immunoreactivity for CK20 in a perinuclear dotlike pattern (3/3), CAM 5.2 (3/3), (2/3), NSE (3/3), CD56 (2/3), and CD57 (3/3). Two cases stained positive for MCPyV, showing moderate to strong, diffuse positivity, confirmed with qPCR. PCR-Sanger sequencing of LTAg exon 2 showed greater than 97% similarity to the MCPyV reference genome in both cases. Conclusion Our findings expand the number of reported cases classified as primary parotid SmCC that harbors MCPyV and underscore the similarity between cutaneous MCC and parotid SmCC. Further investigation is needed to determine whether immune-based therapeutic strategies targeting MCPyV in MCC are also effective in the setting of parotid SmCC harboring MCPyV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-712
Number of pages10
JournalOral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology and oral radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Fisher, C. A., Harms, P. W., McHugh, J. B., Edwards, P. C., Siddiqui, J., Palanisamy, N., Bichakjian, C. K., Benavides, E., & Danciu, T. E. (2014). Small cell carcinoma in the parotid harboring Merkel cell polyomavirus. Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology and oral radiology, 118(6), 703-712.