Chromosomal Instability, Selection and Competition: Factors That Shape the Level of Karyotype Intra-Tumor Heterogeneity

Tom van den Bosch, Sarah Derks, Daniël M. Miedema

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Intra-tumor heterogeneity (ITH) is a pan-cancer predictor of survival, with high ITH being correlated to a dismal prognosis. The level of ITH is, hence, a clinically relevant characteristic of a malignancy. ITH of karyotypes is driven by chromosomal instability (CIN). However, not all new karyotypes generated by CIN are viable or competitive, which limits the amount of ITH. Here, we review the cellular processes and ecological properties that determine karyotype ITH. We propose a framework to understand karyotype ITH, in which cells with new karyotypes emerge through CIN, are selected by cell intrinsic and cell extrinsic selective pressures, and propagate through a cancer in competition with other malignant cells. We further discuss how CIN modulates the cell phenotype and immune microenvironment, and the implications this has for the subsequent selection of karyotypes. Together, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the biological processes that shape the level of karyotype heterogeneity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4986
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


  • aneuploidy
  • chromosomal instability
  • immunological pressure
  • intra-tumor heterogeneity

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