Regionally Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma Associated with Paraneoplastic Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate Receptor Encephalitis

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine cancer most commmonly presenting in the skin and generally associated with sun exposure, immunosuppression, advanced age and the Merkel cell polyomavirus. We present the case of a 59-year-old male with regionally metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma complicated by the paraneoplastic manifestation of anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis. Awareness and detection of paraneoplastic syndromes (PNS) are crucial in the era of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) for advanced MCC, where treatment with immunotherapy has the potential to exacerbate preexisting autoimmune PNS and lead to worsened or even lethal immune-related adverse events.

Sophia Shalhout
Cutaneous Oncology Research Fellow

My research interests include clinical and translational research in advanced skin cancers.