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Most colorectal cancers show either microsatellite or chromosomal instability. A subset of colorectal cancers, especially those diagnosed at young age, is known to show neither of these forms of genetic instability and thus might have a distinct pathogenesis. Colorectal cancers diagnosed at young age are suggestive for hereditary predisposition. We investigate whether such early-onset microsatellite and chromosomally stable colorectal cancers are a hallmark of a genetic susceptibility syndrome. The ploidy status of microsatellite stable (familial) colorectal cancers of patients diagnosed before age 50 (n= 127) was analyzed in relation to the histopathological characteristics and family history. As a control the ploidy status of sporadic colorectal cancer, with normal staining of mismatch repair proteins, diagnosed at the age of 69 years or above (n= 70) was determined. A diploid DNA content was used as a marker for chromosomal stability. Within the group of patients with (familial) early onset microsatellite stable colorectal cancer the chromosomally stable tumors did not differ from chromosomally unstable tumors with respect to mean age at diagnosis, fulfillment of Amsterdam criteria or pathological characteristics. Segregation analysis did not reveal any family with microsatellite and chromosomally stable colorectal cancer in 2 relatives. The prevalence of microsatellite and chromosomally stable colorectal cancer was not significantly different for the early and late onset group (28 and 21%, respectively). We find no evidence that early-onset microsatellite and chromosomally stable colorectal cancer is a hallmark of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.