A rare case of Merkel cell carcinoma presenting as a giant intra-thoracic mass: A case report and review of the literature

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Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine-derived cutaneous cancer. Ectopic or single metastatic MCC located in thorax is extremely rare; meanwhile, its definite management has not been elucidated yet.

Patient concerns:

A 64-year-old female patient with a giant mass located in her left thorax was presented for stuffy pain of left chest for 6 months and fever for half a month. She underwent radical resection of vulvar MCC 10 years ago.


Computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy of the intrathoracic mass revealed a diagnosis of MCC, without synchronous urogenital lesions on pelvic CT images.


This bulky tumor was completely resected via thoracotomy, along with the adjacent pulmonary lobe, pericardium, pleura, and diaphragm.


The patient survived without local-regional recurrence or distant metastasis during the follow-up of 1 year up to now.


Ectopic or single metastatic MCC should be considered in the differential diagnosis of intrathoracic tumors, especially in patients with a history of MCC. Besides, a timely surgery combined with chemotherapy is effective for this disease.

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