Microsatellite instability in colorectal cancer
Keywords:CRC, MSI, DNA MMR system
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a heterogeneous disease that is caused by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Although it is one of the most common cancers worldwide, CRC would be one of the most curable cancers if it is detected in the early stages. Molecular changes that occur in colorectal cancer may be categorized into three main groups: 1) Chromosomal Instability (CIN), 2) Microsatellite Instability (MSI), and 3) CpG Island Methylator phenotype (CIMP). Microsatellites, also known as Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) are small (1-6 base pairs) repeating stretches of DNA scattered throughout the entire genome and account for approximately 3 % of the human genome. Due to their repeated structure, microsatellites are prone to high mutation rate. Microsatellite instability (MSI) is a unique molecular alteration and hyper-mutable phenotype, which is the result of a defective DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system, and can be defined as the presence of alternate sized repetitive DNA sequences which are not present in the corresponding germ line DNA. The presence of MSI is found in sporadic colon, gastric, sporadic endometrial and the majority of other cancers. Approximately, 15-20 % of colorectal cancers display MSI. Determination of MSI status in CRC has prognostic and therapeutic implications. As well, detecting MSI is used diagnostically for tumor detection and classification. For these reasons, microsatellite instability analysis is becoming more and more important in colorectal cancer patients. The objective of this review is to provide the comprehensive summary of the update knowledge of colorectal cancer classification and diagnostic features of microsatellite instability.
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