Our team based in Seattle conducted a comprehensive review including evolving trends in the management of Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). This summary covers key decision points, including recommended work-up during initial diagnosis, treatment options for MCC when it’s in one place or has spread, management of recurrent MCC, and new treatments that are showing promise with fewer side effects and good results. This review gives valuable information on how to handle MCC overall and emphasizes new methods that are effective and less toxic on patients.
DNA damage is a universal inducer of cell cycle arrest at the G2 phase. Infection by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) also blocks cellular proliferation at the G2 phase. The HIV-1 accessory gene vpr encodes a conserved 96-amino acid protein (Vpr) that is necessary and sufficient for the HIV-1-induced block of cellular proliferation. In the present study, we examined a recently identified DNA damage-signaling protein, the ATM- and Rad3-related protein, ATR, for its potential role in the induction of G2 arrest by Vpr. We show that inhibition of ATR by pharmacological inhibitors, by expression of the dominant-negative form of ATR, or by RNA interference inhibits Vpr-induced cell cycle arrest. As with DNA damage, activation of ATR by Vpr results in phosphorylation of Chk1. This study provides conclusive evidence of activation of the ATR-initiated DNA damage-signaling pathway by a viral gene product. These observations are important toward understanding how HIV infection promotes cell cycle disruption, cell death, and ultimately, CD4+ lymphocyte depletion.