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Simplified detection of microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer without the need for corresponding germline DNA analysis
  1. M Ebinger1,
  2. K Sotlar3,
  3. A Weber4,
  4. C T Bock2,
  5. B D Bültmann3,
  6. R Kandolf2
  1. 1Department of Haematology and Oncology, Children’s Hospital, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
  2. 2Department of Molecular Pathology, Institute of Pathology, University of Tübingen
  3. 3Department of General Pathology, Institute of Pathology, University of Tübingen
  4. 4Institute of Pathology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 M Ebinger
 Department of Haematology and Oncology, University Children’s Hospital, Hoppe-Seyler-Street 1, D-72076 Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany;martin.ebinger{at}


A panel of five quasimonomorphic mononucleotide repeats that dispenses with the need to analyse corresponding germline DNA was proposed by Suraweera et al for the detection of high-frequency microsatellite instability (MSI) in colorectal cancer. Using this panel, a simplified and a more sensitive (compared with the original) algorithm (p<0.05) was developed to define the instability of each repeat by assessing the morphological shape of its plot and not its absolute length. 103 cases of colorectal tumours were investigated and the results compared with those obtained by the analysis of five consensus microsatellites (Bethesda reference panel). By the proposed method, a higher specificity, but no loss of sensitivity, was found. Thus, the use of the five mononucleotide repeats in combination with the modified assessment technique simplifies the assessment of MSI, while retaining the sensitivity of the Bethesda panel for the detection of high-frequency MSI.

  • MRP, mononucleotide repeat pentaplex
  • MSI, microsatellite instability
  • MSS, microsatellite stable
  • PCR polymerase chain reaction,

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethical approval: The samples were anonymised and examined retrospectively according to the requirements of the local ethics committee (Ethikkommission der Medizinischen Fakultät der Universität Tübingen).