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Br J Surg. 2000 Sep;87(9):1197-202.

Prognostic significance of extensive microsatellite instability in sporadic clinicopathological stage C colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Conjoint Gastroenterology Laboratory, Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation Clinical Research Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



Colorectal cancers exhibiting microsatellite instability (MSI) appear to have unique biological behaviour. This study analyses the association between extensive MSI (MSI-H), clinicopathological features and survival in an unselected group of patients with sporadic Australian Clinico-Pathological Stage (ACPS) C (tumour node metastasis stage III) colorectal cancer.


Some 255 patients who underwent resection for sporadic ACPS C colorectal cancer between 1986 and 1992 were studied. No patient had received chemotherapy. Minimum follow-up for all patients was 5 years. Archival normal and tumour DNA was extracted and amplified by polymerase chain reaction using a radioactive labelling technique. MSI-H was defined as instability in 40 per cent or more of seven markers.


Twenty-one patients showed MSI-H. No association was found between MSI and age or sex. Tumours exhibiting MSI-H were more commonly right sided (P<0.00001), larger (P = 0.002) and more likely to be high grade (P = 0.049). After adjustment for age, sex and other pathological variables, patients whose cancers exhibited MSI-H had improved survival (P = 0.015).


Recognition of MSI-H in sporadic ACPS C tumours identifies a subset of cancers with improved prognosis. Such stratification should be considered in trials of adjuvant therapy and may be relevant to therapeutic decision making.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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