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This article is the author's final published version in NAR Cancer, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2023, Article number zcad019.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of NAR Cancer.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact


Centromeres play a crucial role in DNA segregation by mediating the cohesion and separation of sister chromatids during cell division. Centromere dysfunction, breakage or compromised centromeric integrity can generate aneuploidies and chromosomal instability, which are cellular features associated with cancer initiation and progression. Maintaining centromere integrity is thus essential for genome stability. However, the centromere itself is prone to DNA breaks, likely due to its intrinsically fragile nature. Centromeres are complex genomic loci that are composed of highly repetitive DNA sequences and secondary structures and require the recruitment and homeostasis of a centromere-associated protein network. The molecular mechanisms engaged to preserve centromere inherent structure and respond to centromeric damage are not fully understood and remain a subject of ongoing research. In this article, we provide a review of the currently known factors that contribute to centromeric dysfunction and the molecular mechanisms that mitigate the impact of centromere damage on genome stability. Finally, we discuss the potential therapeutic strategies that could arise from a deeper understanding of the mechanisms preserving centromere integrity.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License