Author(s): Lamping K, Fischer MJ, Vareska G, Levine MR, Aikawa M, Albert DM. A Merkel cell tumor of the eyelid. Ophthalmology. 1983 Dec;90(12):1399-402. PMID 6677839
Journal: Ophthalmology, Volume 90, Issue 12, Dec 1983
The Merkel cell is a distinctive nondendritic, nonkeratinocytic, epithelial clear cell believed to migrate from the neural crest to the epidermis and dermis, which is usually located in or near the basal layer of the epidermis and associated with nerve terminations. Merkel first described these cells in 1875 as “Tastzellen” occurring in the snout of a mole. They are believed to function as slowly adapting mechanoreceptors that mediate the sense of touch. 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.