Mechanisms of chromosomal instability

Curr Biol. 2010 Mar 23;20(6):R285-95. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.034.


Most solid tumors are aneuploid, having a chromosome number that is not a multiple of the haploid number, and many frequently mis-segregate whole chromosomes in a phenomenon called chromosomal instability (CIN). CIN positively correlates with poor patient prognosis, indicating that reduced mitotic fidelity contributes to cancer progression by increasing genetic diversity among tumor cells. Here, we review the mechanisms underlying CIN, which include defects in chromosome cohesion, mitotic checkpoint function, centrosome copy number, kinetochore-microtubule attachment dynamics, and cell-cycle regulation. Understanding these mechanisms provides insight into the cellular consequences of CIN and reveals the possibility of exploiting CIN in cancer therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Centrosome / physiology
  • Chromosomal Instability*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kinetochores / physiology
  • Microtubules / genetics
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Spindle Apparatus / genetics