Polyploid cancer cells can arise de novo in tumors or they can be induced by therapeutics that inadvertently increase the rate of cytokinetic failure. These cells portend a poor outcome in many cancers because polyploid cancer cells can undergo error prone reductive cell divisions to yield aneuploid progeny. The immune system has evolved mechanisms by which it can specifically recognize and remove polyploid cancer cells, but these appear to be tampered with malignancy so that polyploid cells can persist and fuel the development of cancer cell clones that are resistant to therapeutics and have metastatic potential. Here we review mechanisms by which polyploid cancer cells can arise, are surveilled by the immune system and therapeutic strategies that might prevent or directly attack polyploid cancer cells.
Polyploid, Mitosis, Therapeutics, Apoptosis, Cancer, Immune surveillance