Chromosome Instability

  • Xiao-Xiang Zhang


Two levels of genetic instability have recently been characterized in human cancers: subtle sequence changes observed at the nucleotide level and instability that is visible at the chromosomal level (Lengauer et al., Nature 396(6712):643–649, 1998). The high incidence of chromosome instability reported in neoplastic processes has made this an area of active investigation.

Chromosome instability describes a variety of chromosome alterations, including numerical and structural chromosomal rearrangements observed at an increased rate when compared with normal controls. Numerical changes can be the consequence of abnormal segregation at the metaphase/anaphase transition. Dysregulation of genes involved in chromosome condensation, sister chromatid cohesion, kinetochore structure and function, and centrosome/microtubule formation and dynamics have been implicated in the formation of aneuploidy, hypodiploidy, and polyploidy, as have cell cycle checkpoint genes. Chromosome breaks and telomere dysfunction can result in various structural rearrangements (deletions, duplications, inversions, insertions, and translocations). Impairment of DNA repair, DNA replication, or DNA recombination is responsible for causing sister chromatid exchanges, fragile sites, chromatid/chromosome breaks, and mutagen sensitivity.


Fanconi Anemia Fragile Site Ataxia Telangiectasia Xeroderma Pigmentosum Werner Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author is grateful to Xiaorong Zhao, Ph.D., at the Cytogenetics and Molecular Oncology Laboratory at US Labs, A Labcorp Company, for manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.US Labs, a Labcorp CompanyBrentwoodUSA

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