Correct partitioning of the replicated genome during mitosis is orchestrated by centrosomes, and chromosomal instability is a commonly reported feature of human cancer. Melanomas are notorious for their genetic instability and rapid clonal evolution that may be manifested as aggressive growth and facile generation of therapy-resistant variants. We characterized the centrosomal status, ploidy, and gene status (TP53, CDKN2A/B, BRAF, and NRAS) of 15 human metastatic melanoma cell lines. Cells were labelled for pericentrin (a centrosomal marker), DNA and α-tubulin, and scored for centrosome morphology, supernumerary centrosomes, and mitotic symmetry. The incidence of supernumerary centrosomes correlated with that of gross centrosomal abnormalities (r = 0.90), mitotic asymmetry (r = 0.90), and, surprisingly, increased content of G/M cells (r = 0.79). Centrosomal numerical dysregulation, observed in all cell lines, was found not to be specifically related to the status of any of the characterized gene mutations that were found in 13/15 cell lines. We conclude that centrosomal dysregulation may arise from multiple mechanisms and may drive the generation of genetic and phenotypic diversity in melanoma.
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