Ki-ras mutations are associated with an increased risk of relapse and death in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, with some mutations being more aggressive than others. The present study examined the predictive value of different Ki-ras mutation types in a retrospective series of 430 Dukes' C stage CRC patients, of whom 208 (48%) had received adjuvant chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil/levamisole or 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin. A total of 140 mutations were detected, the majority (58%, 81/140) being glycine to aspartate mutations in codons 12 and 13. Glycine to valine mutations in codon 12 (14%, 20/140) and other less frequent, non-specified mutation types (28%, 39/140) accounted for the remaining mutations. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that both Ki-ras wild-type and mutant patient groups derived significant survival benefit from chemotherapy. However, when patients were stratified according to the type of mutation, those with non-aspartate mutations appeared to gain more benefit from this treatment than those with aspartate mutations. Multivariate analysis that included other possible predictive factors in Dukes' C CRC (tumour site, patient sex, TP53 mutation) demonstrated that non-aspartate mutations in particular were associated with a significant survival benefit from chemotherapy (HR=0.11, 95% CI: 0.04-0.30, p<0.001). These results suggest that the type of Ki-ras mutation could be a clinically useful molecular marker for the identification of CRC subgroups that are likely to benefit from 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.