Karyotype and fluorescence in situ hybridization analyses have demonstrated the frequent presence of an altered static state of the number of chromosomes (ie, aneuploidy) in lung cancer, but it has not been directly established whether aneuploidy is in fact associated with a persistent increase in the rate of chromosomal losses and gains (ie, chromosome instability, or CIN). The study presented here used a panel of 10 lung cancer cell lines to provide for the first time direct evidence that CIN is a common feature in lung cancer cell lines in association with the presence of significant aneuploidy. In addition, we found that the CIN phenotype correlates well with the presence of p53 mutations. However, human papilloma virus 16-E6-directed inactivation of p53 in a representative non-CIN lung cancer cell line did not result in the induction of CIN, at least up to the 25th generation, suggesting that inactivation of p53 itself is unlikely to directly induce CIN in lung cancer cells. Interestingly, however, significant CIN could be induced in conjunction with the generation of aneuploid populations when the mitotic spindle formation was transiently abrogated in p53-inactivated cells. These results suggest that inactivation of p53 may allow lung cancer cells to go through an inappropriate second division cycle under certain forms of mitotic stresses, which would result in the induction of the CIN phenotype in conjunction with the generation of aneuploidy.