Alterations of the size of microsatellite DNA sequences, namely microsatellite instability (MSI), have been demonstrated in some types of malignancies. We analyzed the MSI of five microsatellite markers in 40 cases of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) using high resolution fluorescent microsatellite analysis. In addition, we examined the expression of hMLH1 and hMSH2 proteins of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes by immunohistochemistry, and promoter methylation of the hMLH1 gene by methylation-specific PCR (MSP). MSI was recognized in 10 of 40 STS cases (25%), which consisted of 2 MSH-high (MSI-H) tumors and 8 MSI-low (MSI-L) tumors. A loss of hMLH1 expression was recognized in 7 of 40 STS cases (18%), and loss of hMSH2 expression was recognized in 3 of 40 STS cases (8%). One case showed a loss of both hMLH1 and hMSH2 expression. Promoter hypermethylation of the hMLH1 gene was detected in only 3 of 40 STS cases (8%). Of 10 cases with MSI, 5 (50%) showed a loss of hMLH1 and/or hMSH2 expression. There was a statistically significant correlation between MSI-positive tumors and the loss of hMLH1 and/or hMSH2 expression (p=0.0286). Although the frequency of MSI (25%) or a loss of hMLH1 and/or hMSH2 expression (23%) was relatively low in STS cases, a loss of hMLH1 and/or hMSH2 was recognized in 5 out of 10 MSI-positive cases (50%). These findings suggest that the inactivation of MMR gene expression might be the cause of MSI in STS cases.