Transformation of Merkel cell carcinoma to ganglioneuroblastoma in intracranial metastasis
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Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumor occasionally demonstrating aberrant differentiation to other epithelial and nonepithelial cell lines. We describe a case of Merkel cell carcinoma displaying unique patterns of differentiation in the primary focus and brain metastasis. The skin primary was almost uniformly small cell carcinoma positive for epithelial and neuroendocrine markers, with a few glial fibrillary acidic protein- and cytokeratin 20-positive cells. The neoplasm contained giant cells immunoreactive for neurofilament and negative for epithelial markers. The neck lymph node metastasis was a typical neuroendocrine Merkel cell carcinoma positive for cytokeratin 20. A solitary dural intracranial metastasis displayed features of aggressive ganglioneuroblastoma, expressing many neuronal antigens with no evidence of glial or epithelial differentiation. After total gross resection, the tumor recurred within 3 months, and the patient developed skeletal metastases and died 6 months after craniotomy.
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