Detection of microsatellite instability by fluorescence multiplex polymerase chain reaction

Karin D. Berg, Cynthia L. Glaser, Richard E. Thompson, Stanley R. Hamilton, Constance A. Griffin, James R. Eshleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have created a clinical molecular diagnostic assay to test for microsatellite instability (MSI) at multiple loci simultaneously in paraffin-embedded surgical pathology colon resection specimens. This fluorescent multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay analyzes the five primary microsatellite loci recommended at the 1997 National Cancer Institute-sponsored conference on MSI for the identification of MSI or replication errors in colorectal cancer: Bat-25, Bat-26, D2S123, D5S346, and D17S250. Amplicon detection is accomplished by capillary electrophoresis using the ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer. Assay validation compared 18 specimens previously assessed by radioactive PCR and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis detection to results generated by the reported assay. Germline and tumor DNA samples were amplified in separate multiplex PCR reactions, sized in separate capillary electrophoresis runs, and compared directly to identify novel length alleles in tumor tissue. A concordance of 100% between the two modalities was achieved. The multiplex assay routinely detected a subpopulation of 10% tumor alleles in the presence of 90% normal alleles. A novel statistical model was generated that corroborates the validity of using results generated by analysis of five independent microsatellites to achieve a single overall MSI diagnosis. The assay presented is superior to standard radioactive monoplex PCR, polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis, primarily due to the multiplex PCR format.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Medicine


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