Road to the crossroads of life and death: linking sister chromatid cohesion and separation to aneuploidy, apoptosis and cancer

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2009 Dec;72(3):181-93. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Jan 21.


Genomic instability, aberrant cell proliferation and defects in apoptotic cell death are critical issues in cancer. The two most prominent hallmarks of cancer cells are multiple mutations in key genes encoding proteins that regulate important cell-survival pathways, and marked restructuring or redistribution of the chromosomes (aneuploidy) indicative of genomic instability. Both these aspects have been suggested to cause cancer, though a causal role for chromosomal restructuring in tumorigenesis has not been experimentally fully substantiated. This review is aimed at understanding the mechanisms of cell cycle (proliferation) and programmed cell death (apoptosis) and chromosomal instability governed by cohesin and other aneuploidy promoters, which will provide new insights into the process of carcinogenesis and new avenues for targeted treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms*
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange*