Microsatellite instability (MSI) is a molecular hallmark of the H ereditary N on- P olyposis C olorectal C ancer (HNPCC) syndrome occurring in about 80-90% of the tumours and also in sporadic tumours of different organs, albeit at lower frequency. Highly unstable colorectal tumours (MSI-H) have different histopathological features and tend to have a better prognosis compared to neoplasms without (MSS) or with low levels of microsatellite instability (MSI-L). Since MSI classification allows the identification of potential HNPCC patients and might represent a valuable diagnostic parameter an increasing demand for high-throughput microsatellite analysis will arise. Therefore, we have adapted five diagnostic microsatellites, m(odified) ACTC, mBAT26, mD5S107, mD5S406 and mD13S153, to allow coamplification. Using this multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) system 29 colorectal tumour tissues with known MSI status could be unambiguously identified as MSI-H (13 cases) or MSI-L/MSS (16 cases). Highly unstable colorectal tumour detection frequency of individual markers reached 77% (mD5S406), 85% (mACTC), 85% (mD5S107), 92% (D13S153) and 100% (mBAT26) showing similar sensitivity but improved specificity as compared with a microsatellite reference panel. In a prospective analysis of 31 colorectal tumours, the multiplex PCR system identified five MSI-H cases. Multiplex MSI PCR is a time saving and cost-effective method not restricted to specific technical equipment and applicable to a variety of microsatellite-based genotyping approaches.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.