Most human cancers are aneuploid, due to a chromosomal instability (CIN) phenotype. Despite being hallmarks of cancer, however, the roles of CIN and aneuploidy in tumor formation have not unequivocally emerged from animal studies and are thus still unclear. Using a conditional mouse model for diverse degrees of CIN, we find that a particular range is sufficient to drive very early onset spontaneous adenoma formation in the intestine. In mice predisposed to intestinal cancer (ApcMin/+), moderate CIN causes a remarkable increase in adenoma burden in the entire intestinal tract and especially in the distal colon, which resembles human disease. Strikingly, a higher level of CIN promotes adenoma formation in the distal colon even more than moderate CIN does, but has no effect in the small intestine. Our results thus show that CIN can be potently oncogenic, but that certain levels of CIN can have contrasting effects in distinct tissues.