Microsatellite instability (MSI) has been identified in several tumors arising from either germline or somatic aberration. The presence of MSI in cancer predicts the sensitivity to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), particularly PD1/PD-L1 inhibitors. To date, the predictive role of MSI is currently used in the selection of colorectal cancer patients for immunotherapy; moreover, the expansion of clinical trials into other cancer types may elucidate the predictive value of MSI for non-colorectal tumors. In clinical practice, several assays are used for MSI testing, including immunohistochemistry (IHC), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS). In this review, we provide an overview of MSI in various cancer types, highlighting its potential predictive/prognostic role and the clinical trials performed. Finally, we focus on the comparison data between the different assays used to detect MSI in clinical practice.