Conditions that partially inhibit DNA replication induce expression of common fragile sites. These sites form gaps and breaks on metaphase chromosomes and are deleted and rearranged in many tumors. Yet, the mechanism of fragile site expression has been elusive. We demonstrate that the replication checkpoint kinase ATR, but not ATM, is critical for maintenance of fragile site stability. ATR deficiency results in fragile site expression with and without addition of replication inhibitors. Thus, we propose that fragile sites are unreplicated chromosomal regions resulting from stalled forks that escape the ATR replication checkpoint. These findings have important implications for understanding both the mechanism of fragile site instability and the consequences of stalled replication in mammalian cells.
Merkel cell carcinoma can be indolent: A case with 7 locoregional recurrences over 15 years highlights the importance of patient-tailored management
Patients who experience a recurrence of their Merkel cell carcinoma are often treated aggressively. We report a case of a man with an unusually long course of MCC over 15 years who had his MCC recur around his face or neck 7 times before eventually developing distant spread. Because he had 4 major medical problems at the time his MCC initially appeared, less aggressive therapies were chosen for his recurrences, and there was no evidence of disease for the vast majority of his 15-year course, during which he enjoyed excellent quality of life. This case emphasizes the importance of customizing care in MCC to give patients the best quality and quantity of life possible in their particular situation.