Medicum/Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, University of Helsinki, 00014, Helsinki, Finland,
Approximately 15% of colorectal cancers exhibit instability of short nucleotide repeat regions, microsatellites. These tumors display a unique clinicopathologic profile and the microsatellite instability status is increasingly used to guide clinical management as it is known to predict better prognosis as well as resistance to certain chemotherapeutics. A panel of five repeats determined by the National Cancer Institute, the Bethesda panel, is currently the standard for determining the microsatellite instability status in colorectal cancer. Recently, a quasimonomorphic mononucleotide repeat 16T/U at the 3' untranslated region of the Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 gene was reported to show perfect sensitivity and specificity in detecting mismatch repair deficient colorectal, endometrial, and gastric cancers in two independent populations. To confirm this finding, we replicated the analysis in 213 microsatellite unstable colorectal cancers from two independent populations, 148 microsatellite stable colorectal cancers, and the respective normal samples by PCR and fragment analysis. The repeat showed nearly perfect sensitivity for microsatellite unstable colorectal cancer as it was altered in 212 of the 213 microsatellite unstable (99.5%) and none of the microsatellite stable colorectal tumors. This repeat thus represents the first potential single marker for detecting microsatellite instability.