Dr AvinashTank, is a super-specialist (MCh) Laparoscopic Gastro-intestinal Surgeon,

Colon Cancer & MMR Protein Deficiency

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Colon Cancer & MMR Protein Deficiency
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Understanding Colon Cancer & MMR Protein Deficiency: Implications, Prognosis, and Treatment

Colon cancer is a challenging disease, but understanding its various aspects can lead to more effective treatments.

One crucial factor in this regard is the status of MMR proteins, or Microsatellite Instability (MSI).

What’s the meaning of MMR Protein?

MMR stands for “Mismatch Repair.” MMR proteins are essential components of our cells responsible for repairing DNA mismatches that naturally occur during cell division.

When MMR proteins are deficient, DNA errors can accumulate, potentially leading to cancer.

What is the Function of MMR Protein?

MMR proteins play a vital role in maintaining genomic stability.

They correct errors that occur when DNA is copied, preventing mutations that could lead to uncontrolled cell growth.

When functioning correctly, MMR proteins act as cellular proofreaders.

How is Its Deficiency Related to Colon Cancer Growth?

Deficiency in MMR proteins, known as Microsatellite Instability (MSI), can result in the accumulation of mutations in the DNA.

This instability is particularly associated with certain types of colon cancer. MSI can increase the risk of developing colon cancer and can also influence its aggressiveness.

Prognosis of Colon Cancer & MMR Protein Deficiency:

The prognosis for colon cancer with MMR protein deficiency varies.

In some cases, MSI can be associated with a better response to immunotherapy, while in others, it may indicate more aggressive disease.

Accurate staging and individualized treatment plans are crucial for determining prognosis.

Will They Respond to Chemotherapy?

Colon cancer patients with MMR protein deficiency may have different responses to chemotherapy.

Some studies suggest that they may be less responsive to traditional chemotherapy drugs.

However, immunotherapy, specifically immune checkpoint inhibitors, can be a promising treatment option for these patients.

Which Chemotherapy is Good for Them?

For colon cancer patients with MMR protein deficiency, immune checkpoint inhibitors like pembrolizumab and nivolumab have shown promise.

These drugs work by unleashing the body’s immune system to target cancer cells.

Which Chemo They Should Avoid?

Traditional chemotherapy drugs like 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) may not be as effective in patients with MMR protein deficiency.

However, the choice of chemotherapy should be individualized based on the patient’s specific case and the recommendations of their oncologist.

Long-Term Survival After Full Course of Chemotherapy:

The long-term survival of colon cancer patients with MMR protein deficiency can vary widely.

Some patients may achieve long-term remission with immunotherapy, while others may face more challenges.

Regular follow-up with healthcare providers is essential to monitor treatment response and make adjustments as needed.


In conclusion, understanding the significance of MMR protein deficiency in colon cancer is crucial for tailoring effective treatments.

While challenges exist, advancements in immunotherapy offer hope for improved outcomes in patients with MMR protein-deficient colon cancer.

Individualized treatment plans, guided by expert oncologists, are essential to optimize the prognosis and long-term survival of these patients.

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