Analysis of beta-catenin gene mutations in pancreatic tumors

Digestion. Nov-Dec 1999;60(6):544-8. doi: 10.1159/000007704.


Background/aim: Mutations of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumor suppressor gene have been described in a subset of pancreatic carcinomas. The APC gene modulates the beta-catenin-Tcf pathway. The major player in this pathway is the beta-catenin protein encoded by the beta-catenin gene. A variety of different tumors, including colon, prostate, endometrial, and hepatocellular carcinomas, carry mutations in exon 3 of the beta-catenin gene. The aim of this study was to determine the role of the beta-catenin gene in the genesis of exocrine and endocrine tumors of the pancreas.

Methods: 78 ductal pancreatic adenocarcinomas, 14 ductal pancreatic cancer cell lines, and 33 endocrine pancreatic tumors were evaluated for mutations in exon 3 of the beta-catenin gene by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and direct DNA sequencing. In addition, 40 ductal pancreatic adenocarcinomas were analyzed for intracellular beta-catenin accumulation by immunohistochemistry, indicating alterations of the beta-catenin gene.

Results: Neither the 111 exocrine and endocrine pancreatic tumors nor the 14 pancreatic cancer cell lines carried mutations in exon 3 of the beta-catenin gene. Intracellular beta-catenin accumulation was not identified in any of the 40 pancreatic adenocarcinomas.

Conclusion: These data suggest that the beta-catenin gene as the major player of the beta-catenin-Tcf pathway does not play an important role in the genesis of pancreatic tumors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Mutation*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational
  • Trans-Activators*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • beta Catenin


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin