A Merkel Cell Tumor of the Eyelid

Kathleen Lamping, Michael J. Fischer, George Vareska, Mark R. Levine, Masamichi Aikawa, Daniel M. Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The Merkel cell is a distinctive nondendritic, nonkeratinocytic, epithelial clear cell believed to migrate from the neural crest to the epidermis and dermis1, which is usually located in or near the basal layer of the epidermis and associated with nerve terminations.2 Merkel first described these cells in 1875 as “Tastz-ellen” occurring in the snout of a mole3. They are believed to function as slowly adapting mechanoreceptors that mediate the sense of touch1,2,4. Tumors arising from Merkel cells have been reported to occur on the head and neck area, the trunk, arms, and legs, and resemble a primary cutaneous lymphoma or cutaneous metastasis of a lymphoma or a carcinoma. Electron microscopy, to locate the characteristic membrane-bound, dense core neurosecretory granules, is needed for accurate diagnosis. These tumors must be treated aggressively to minimize the chance of local recurrence and nodal or visceral metastases. The authors present a case of Merkel cell tumor occurring on the eyelid. The clinical history, light and electron microscopic findings are shown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1402
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • Merkel cell
  • cytoplasmic
  • intranuclear rodlet
  • neural crest
  • neurosecretory granules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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