Drug resistance is the major determinant for metastatic disease and fatalities, across all cancers. Depending on the tissue of origin and the therapeutic course, a variety of biological mechanisms can support and sustain drug resistance. While genetic mutations and gene silencing through epigenetic mechanisms are major culprits in targeted therapy, drug efflux and polyploidization are more global mechanisms that prevail in a broad range of pathologies, in response to a variety of treatments. There is an unmet need to identify patients at risk for polyploidy, understand the mechanisms underlying polyploidization, and to develop strategies to predict, limit, and reverse polyploidy thus enhancing efficacy of standard of care therapy that improve better outcomes. This literature review provides an overview of polyploidy in cancer and offers perspective on patient monitoring and actionable therapy.

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