International Workshop on Merkel Cell Carcinoma Research (IWMCC) held in early March

IWMCC Meeting image

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin with an annual incidence of 0.7 in 100,000 in the US. Although rare, its incidence almost doubled between 2000 and 2013, and the current 5-year survival rate for stage IV MCC is around 20 percent. In 2017 the FDA approved avelumab, a PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor, as therapy for metastatic MCC, a major breakthrough for treatment of this rare disease. Despite these recent advances, roughly half of MCC patients fail to respond to avelumab, and new treatments are still needed. To address issues in basic, translational and clinical research in MCC, NCI held a workshop March 5-6, 2018, on the NCI Shady Grove campus organized by Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D., and Paul Harms, M.D., Ph.D. The workshop was sponsored by the CCR Rare Tumor Initiative, NIAMS and the University of Michigan with support from EMD Serono and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The workshop brought into focus many opportunities for future collaboration by MCC researchers, and the group is finalizing a white paper reviewing the current state of MCC science and future priorities identified during the workshop to be submitted for publication in the upcoming months. The MCC community plans to reconvene in 2020 for a scientific meeting to share progress on MCC resulting from the workshop. The consensus from the meeting was recently published that reviews the biology and treatment of MCC and reports the consensus-based recommendations agreed upon during the workshop.

Summary Posted: Thu, 03/01/2018