Mitosis: Chromosomal Rearrangements


Chromosomal rearrangements occur during mitosis as a result of chromosomal breakage and rejoining. Such chromosomal rearrangement occurs more frequently in cancer cells than during embryogenesis or postnatally, usually as a result of environmental exposures and/or mutations resulting in DNA repair defects.

Keywords: chromosomal instability; breakage–fusion–bridge cycle; gene amplification; chromosomal rearrangement; cancer


Andreassen PR, Lacroix FB, Lohez OD and Margolis RL (2001) Neither p21WAF1 nor 14‐3‐3 prevents G2 progression to mitotic catastrophe in human colon carcinoma cells after DNA damage, but p21WAF1 induces stable G1 arrest in resulting tetraploid cells. Cancer Research 61: 7660–7668.

Bishop AJ and Schiestl RH (2001) Homologous recombination as a mechanism of carcinogenesis. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta 1471: M109–M121.

Boveri T (1914) The Origin of Malignant Tumors, translated by M Boveri (1929). Baltimore, MD: Williams and Wilkins Co.

Cahill DP, Lengauer C, Yu J, et al. (1998) Mutations of mitotic checkpoint genes in human cancers. Nature 392: 300–303.

Cimini D, Antoccia A, Tanzarella C and Degrassi F (1997) Topoisomerase II inhibition in mitosis produces numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations in human fibroblasts. Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics 76: 61–67.

Debatisse M, Coquelle A, Toledo F and Buttin G (1998) Gene amplification mechanisms: the role of fragile sites. Cancer Research 154: 216–226.

Hellman A, Zlotorynski E, Scherer SW, et al. (2002) A role for common fragile site induction in amplification of human oncogenes. Cancer Cell 1: 89–97.

Ma C, Martin S, Trask B and Hamlin JL (1993) Sister chromatid fusion initiates amplification of the dihydrofolate reductase gene in Chinese hamster cells. Genes and Development 7: 605–620.

McClintock B (1938) The fusion of broken ends of sister half‐chromatids following chromatid breakage at meiotic anaphases. Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station Research Bulletin 290: 1–48.

McClintock B (1951) The stability of broken ends of chromosomes in Zea Mays. Genetics 26: 234–282.

Oshimura M and Barrett JC (1986) Chemically‐induced aneuploidy in mammalian cells: mechanisms and biological significance in cancer. Environmental Mutagenesis 8: 129–159.

Pihan GA and Doxsey SJ (1999) The mitotic machinery as a source of genetic instability in cancer. Seminars in Cancer Biology 9: 289–302.

Stark GR (1993) Regulation and mechanisms of mammalian gene amplification. Advances in Cancer Research 61: 87–113.

Zhou BB and Elledge SJ (2000) The DNA damage response: putting checkpoints in perspective. Nature 408: 433–439.

Further Reading

Deng CX and Brodie SG (2000) Roles of BRCA1 and its interacting proteins. BioEssays 22: 728–737.

Donnellan R and Chetty R (1998) Cyclin D1 and human neoplasia. Molecular Pathology 51: 1–7.

Duensing S and Münger K (2001) Centrosome abnormalities, genomic instability, and carcinogenic progression. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta 1471: M81–M88.

van Gent DC, Hoeijmakers JHJ and Kanaar R (2001) Chromosomal stability and the DNA double‐stranded break connection. Nature Reviews Genetics 2: 196–206.

Ji Y, Eichler EE, Schwartz S and Nicholls RD (2000) Structure of chromosomal duplicons and their role in mediating human genomic disorders. Genome Research 10: 597–610.

Johnson DG and Walker CL (1999) Cyclins and cell cycle checkpoints. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 39: 295–312.

Paulovich AG, Toczyski DP and Hartwell LH (1997) When checkpoints fail. Cell 88: 315–321.

Schimke RT (1984) Gene amplification in cultured animal cells. Cell 37: 705–713.

Sharp DJ, Rogers GC and Scholey JM (2000) Microtubule motors in mitosis. Nature 407: 41–47.

Shay JW, Zou Y, Hiyama E and Wright WE (2001) Telomerase and cancer. Human Molecular Genetics 10: 677–685.

Tlsty TD (1997) Genomic instability and its role in neoplasia. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 221: 37–46.

Wassmann K and Benezra R (2001) Mitotic checkpoints: from yeast to cancer. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 11: 83–90.

Wood RD, Mitchell M, Sgouros J and Lindahl T (2001) Human DNA repair genes. Science 291: 1284–1289.

Web Links

APC (adenomatosis polyposis coli); LocusID: 324. LocusLink:

APC (adenomatosis polyposis coli); MIM number: 175100. OMIM:‐post/Omim/dispmim?175100

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Gollin, Susanne M, and Skarja, Shalini Reshmi(Jan 2006) Mitosis: Chromosomal Rearrangements. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005773]