Molecular mechanisms leading to genomic instability and phenotypic variation during tumor development and progression are poorly understood. Such instability represents a major problem in the management of breast cancer because of its contribution to more aggressive phenotypes as well as chemoresistance. In this study we analyzed breast carcinomas and tumor-derived cell lines to determine the relationship between centrosome amplification and established prognostic factors. Our results show that centrosome amplification can arise independent of ER or p53 status and is a common feature of aneuploid breast tumors. Centrosome amplification is associated with mitotic spindle abnormalities in breast carcinomas and thus may contribute to genomic instability and the development of more aggressive phenotypes during tumor progression.