Cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine) is an inhibitor of poly(A) polymerase (PAP), an enzyme crucial to mRNA 3'-end processing, which produces the shortening of poly(A) tails, leading to the destabilization of mRNAs. Cordycepin inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in tumor cells, indicating its antitumor activity. Defective 3'-end processing is associated with hypersensitivity to UV treatment. We investigated the effects of cordycepin on proliferation and apoptosis in MLH1‑deficient and MLH1-proficient HCT116 colon tumor cells. MLH1 is a DNA mismatch repair (MMR) protein involved in the processing of damaged DNA. Cells with defective MMR show resistance to certain anticancer drugs. The results showed that MLH1-deficient HCT116 cells are 2-fold less sensitive to the cytostatic effect of cordycepin, as compared to MLH1-proficient cells. This reduced sensitivity to cordycepin in MLH1-deficient cells was associated with reduced upregulation of the cell cycle inhibitor p21. MLH1-deficient cells also exhibited reduced susceptibility to apoptosis upon treatment with cordycepin, as demonstrated by the reduced PARP-1 cleavage. Our findings showed that MLH1-deficient HCT116 colon tumor cells are resistant to the cytostatic and cytotoxic effect of cordycepin, indicating a possible involvement of MMR in mRNA polyadenylation. The findings also suggest that cordycepin is not suitable to therapeutically encounter tumor cells lacking MLH1 expression.