Proliferative polyploid cells give rise to tumors via ploidy reduction

Tomonori Matsumoto, Leslie Wakefield, Alexander Peters, Myron Peto, Paul Spellman, Markus Grompe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Polyploidy is a hallmark of cancer, and closely related to chromosomal instability involved in cancer progression. Importantly, polyploid cells also exist in some normal tissues. Polyploid hepatocytes proliferate and dynamically reduce their ploidy during liver regeneration. This raises the question whether proliferating polyploids are prone to cancer via chromosome missegregation during mitosis and/or ploidy reduction. Conversely polyploids could be resistant to tumor development due to their redundant genomes. Therefore, the tumor-initiation risk of physiologic polyploidy and ploidy reduction is still unclear. Using in vivo lineage tracing we here show that polyploid hepatocytes readily form liver tumors via frequent ploidy reduction. Polyploid hepatocytes give rise to regenerative nodules with chromosome aberrations, which are enhanced by ploidy reduction. Although polyploidy should theoretically prevent tumor suppressor loss, the high frequency of ploidy reduction negates this protection. Importantly, polyploid hepatocytes that undergo multiple rounds of cell division become predominantly mononucleated and are resistant to ploidy reduction. Our results suggest that ploidy reduction is an early step in the initiation of carcinogenesis from polyploid hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number646
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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