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Chromosomal instability accelerates the evolution of resistance to anti-cancer therapies
Developmental Cell  (IF12.27),  Pub Date : 2021-08-04, DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2021.07.009
Devon A. Lukow, Erin L. Sausville, Pavit Suri, Narendra Kumar Chunduri, Angela Wieland, Justin Leu, Joan C. Smith, Vishruth Girish, Ankith A. Kumar, Jude Kendall, Zihua Wang, Zuzana Storchova, Jason M. Sheltzer

Aneuploidy is a ubiquitous feature of human tumors, but the acquisition of aneuploidy typically antagonizes cellular fitness. To investigate how aneuploidy could contribute to tumor growth, we triggered periods of chromosomal instability (CIN) in human cells and then exposed them to different culture environments. We discovered that transient CIN reproducibly accelerates the acquisition of resistance to anti-cancer therapies. Single-cell sequencing revealed that these resistant populations develop recurrent aneuploidies, and independently deriving one chromosome-loss event that was frequently observed in paclitaxel-resistant cells was sufficient to decrease paclitaxel sensitivity. Finally, we demonstrated that intrinsic levels of CIN correlate with poor responses to numerous therapies in human tumors. Our results show that, although CIN generally decreases cancer cell fitness, it also provides phenotypic plasticity to cancer cells that can allow them to adapt to diverse stressful environments. Moreover, our findings suggest that aneuploidy may function as an under-explored cause of therapy failure.