Dr. DeCaprio on Raising Awareness in Merkel Cell Carcinoma


James A. DeCaprio, MD, discusses raising awareness in Merkel cell carcinoma.

James A. DeCaprio, MD, physician, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, discusses raising awareness in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

Although MCC is a rare type of skin cancer, awareness of the disease has been raised since checkpoint inhibitors, such as pembrolizumab (Keytruda), were found to elicit high response rates in patients with MCC, DeCaprio says. Now, even providers in the medical community who are not involved in the treatment of patients with skin cancer may be aware of MCC, DeCaprio adds.

Despite these advances, MCC remains a rare disease, so awareness efforts are limited, DeCaprio says. However, in areas of the world where increased sun exposure correlates with a greater risk of skin cancer, such as Australia, MCC is a well-understood malignancy, says DeCaprio. Although MCC remains a rare condition in these areas, the incidence is higher among the general population, concludes DeCaprio.

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