News FocusCell Biology

Do Centrosome Abnormalities Lead to Cancer?

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Science  20 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5516, pp. 426-429
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5516.426

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Evidence suggests that at least some cancers arise because malfunctions in the centrosome, which plays a key role in cell division, cause chromosome damage and missorting. Contributing to this new view is the realization that many types of cancer cells have abnormalities in their centrosomes. The supposition is that these abnormalities lead to chromosome instability, which may, in turn, result in the loss of tumor suppressor genes or the gain or activation of cancer-causing oncogenes. Researchers caution that this idea isn't yet firmly established, but if centrosome abnormalities underlie some of the chromosomal instability seen in cancer, they might be useful as diagnostic or prognostic indicators to help clinicians distinguish highly malignant cancers from those that are less dangerous.