Merkel Cell Carcinomas in New Zealand: Virus or Ultra Violet? Abstract #2297

Introduction: Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a rare Neuroendocrine skin tumour. MCC behavior is more aggressive than the more common Melanoma, with treatments often restricted to surgery or radiotherapy, although immunotherapy holds promise overseas. In 2008, a USA study identified an oncogenic polyomavirus (MCPyV) present in eight of ten tested MCC tumours. Studies from across Europe and the USA confirmed MCPyV presence in ~80% of all MCCs. However, a cohort from Australia found a rate of just 24%, suggesting an alternative mechanism; ultra violet (UV) exposure was suspected and later confirmed using genomic mutational signature analysis. Are these are two separate diseases, requiring different clinical management strategies for best patient outcomes?
Aim(s): Here, we present the first study in New Zealand to ask the question, Virus or UV?
Materials and methods: An in-house NZ Neuroendocrine patient registry was mined, identifying 293 cases of MCC across NZ over 13 years. Archived tissue has been accessed for 56 cases on which we have performed nucleic acid extraction and molecular analysis for virus status. A droplet digital PCR assay was developed and used alongside immunohistochemistry to screen for MCPyV.
Conference: 15th Annual ENETS conference (2018)
Category: Basic Science - Genetics, epigenetics, miRNAs, Omics
Presenting Author: Tamsin Robb

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