Background: Many carcinomas have recurrent chromosomal aneuploidies specific to the tissue of tumor origin. The reason for this specificity is not completely understood. Methods: In this study, we looked at the frequency of chromosomal arm gains and losses in different cancer types from the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and compared them to the mean gene expression of each chromosome arm in corresponding normal tissues of origin from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) database, in addition to the distribution of tissue-specific oncogenes and tumor suppressors on different chromosome arms. Results: This analysis revealed a complex picture of factors driving tumor karyotype evolution in which some recurrent chromosomal copy number reflect the chromosome arm-wide gene expression levels of the their normal tissue of tumor origin. Conclusions: We conclude that the cancer type-specific distribution of chromosomal arm gains and losses is potentially “hardwiring” gene expression levels characteristic of the normal tissue of tumor origin, in addition to broadly modulating the expression of tissue-specific tumor driver genes.