Cancer chromosomal instability: therapeutic and diagnostic challenges

EMBO Rep. 2012 Jun 1;13(6):528-38. doi: 10.1038/embor.2012.61.


Chromosomal instability (CIN)-which is a high rate of loss or gain of whole or parts of chromosomes-is a characteristic of most human cancers and a cause of tumour aneuploidy and intra-tumour heterogeneity. CIN is associated with poor patient outcome and drug resistance, which could be mediated by evolutionary adaptation fostered by intra-tumour heterogeneity. In this review, we discuss the clinical consequences of CIN and the challenges inherent to its measurement in tumour specimens. The relationship between CIN and prognosis supports assessment of CIN status in the clinical setting and suggests that stratifying tumours according to levels of CIN could facilitate clinical risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Instability*
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics*