Polyploidy, aneuploidy and the evolution of cancer

Lauren M.F. Merlo, Li San Wang, John W. Pepper, Peter S. Rabinovitch, Carlo C. Maley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

24 Scopus citations


Aneuploidy is a ubiquitous feature of cancer and pre-cancerous lesions, yet its significance is poorly characterized. In this chapter, we review the role of tetraploidy and aneuploidy in progression. We examine how aneuploidy may contribute to the evolutionary dynamics prevalent in neoplastic progression, considering whether aneuploidy itself is selectively neutral or advantageous or if it simply acts as a mechanism for the more rapid accumulation of mutations increasing survival and reproduction of cancer cells. We also review evidence from Barrett's esophagus, a pre-malignant condition, demonstrating that tetraploidy and aneuploidy are correlated with an increased risk of progression to cancer. Ultimately, we aim provide testable hypotheses and methods for understanding the role of aneuploidy in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolyploidization and Cancer
EditorsRandy Poon
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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