The significance of unstable chromosomes in colorectal cancer

Harith Rajagopalan, Martin A. Nowak, Bert Vogelstein, Christoph Lengauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

395 Scopus citations


A very large fraction of cancers have an abnormal genetic content, called aneuploidy, which is characterized by changes in chromosome structure and number. One explanation for this aneuploidy is chromosomal instability, in which cancer cells gain or lose whole chromosomes or large fractions of chromosomes at a greatly increased rate compared with normal cells. Here, we explore experimental and theoretical evidence for the initiation of chromosomal instability in very early colorectal cancers, and reflect on the role that chromosomal instability could have in colorectal tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-701
Number of pages7
JournalNature Reviews Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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