A concise exposition of the Microsatellite instability test

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. Insights from the American Cancer Society place colorectal cancer as the third-highest cause of cancer-related deaths in America – it places the risk of developing colorectal cancer at 4% for women and 4.3% for men. A timely microsatellite instability test has the propensity for nipping colorectal cancer in the bud.

What is Microsatellite instability?

Microsatellite instability simply refers to the predisposition of the human genome to mutation resulting from an impaired DNA mismatch repair. It signifies the improper functioning of the body’s DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system.

As a crucial component of the biological processes, DNA replication is necessary to repair damaged tissue and cell division, leading to growth. It is prone to error which the body’s DNA mismatch repair system corrects in a microsatellite process.

Microsatelite Instability Test

The Microsatellite instability test determines microsatellite instability (MSI) in cancer growth or tumor. It is performed without any special preparation by the patient. It typically involves testing a cancer growth or tumor removed during surgery. Alternatively, the microsatellite instability test can be performed on an extracted cancer growth through a technical process.

It is usually requested from patients below 50 years who are predisposed to colon cancer or individuals below 50 years with a family history of colon cancer for early detection of the lynch syndrome. The Lynch syndrome increases the risk of developing various kinds of cancer, including the cancer of the pancreas, uterus, stomach and ovary. While a positive MSI test may indicate a strong likelihood of hereditary cancer developing, a further test is required for certainty.


A medical examination is required to ascertain the health implication of microsatellite instability in the human genome. It should be noted that not all cancer growth is harmful and should be a cause of worry.

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