The clinical management of cancers has progressed rapidly into the immunopathology era, with the unprecedented histology-agnostic approval of pembrolizumab in mismatch repair (MMR) deficient tumors. Despite the significant recent achievements in the treatment of these patients, however, the identification of clinically relevant subclasses of cancers based on the MMR status remains a major challenge. Many investigations have assessed the role of different diagnostic tools, including immunohistochemistry, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutational burden in both prognostic and therapeutic settings, with heterogenous results. To date, there are no tumor-specific guidelines or companion diagnostic tests for MMR assessment, and this analysis is often performed with locally developed methods. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the current state-of-knowledge of MMR alterations in syndromic and sporadic tumors and discuss the available armamentarium for MMR pathologic characterization, from morphology to high-throughput molecular tools.
- microsatellite instability
- mismatch repair
- next-generation sequencing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine