Frequent mutations of coding nucleotide repeats are thought to contribute significantly to carcinogenesis associated with microsatellite instability (MSI). We have shown that shortening of the poly(T)11 within the polypyrimidine stretch/accessory splicing signal of human MRE11 leads to the reduced expression and functional impairment of the MRE11/NBS1/RAD50 complex. This mutation was selectively found in mismatch repair (MMR) defective cell lines and potentially identifies MRE11 as a novel target for MSI. Here, we examined 70 microsatellite unstable primary human cancers and we report that MRE11 mutations occur in 83.7 and 50% of the colorectal and endometrial cancers, respectively. In the colorectal cancer series, mutated MRE11 is more frequently associated with advanced age at diagnosis and A/B stages. Biallelic mutations were present in 38.8% of the cases and more frequently associated with lower (G1/G2) grade tumors. Impaired MRE11 expression was prevalent in primary colorectal tumors with larger and biallelic shortening of the poly(T)11. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the impaired MRE11 expression and revealed NBS1-defective expression in MRE11 mutated cancers. Together with the observation that perturbation of the MRE11/NBS1/RAD50 complex predisposes to cancer, our work highlights MRE11 as a new common target in the MMR deficient tumorigenesis and suggests its role in colorectal carcinogenesis.