Introduction: Gastric carcinoma is classified morphologically as type 1 to 4. Type 1 is defined as a polypoid tumor; types 2 and 3 are defined as ulcerated tumors with polypoid growth or gastric wall infiltration, respectively, and type 4 tumors are defined as flat. This morphological classification is important because biological characteristics differ between the four morphological types, but little is known about genetic differences between them.
Materials and methods: One hundred eight gastric tumors were classified macroscopically as type 1 to 4. Tumoral DNA was microdissected from paraffin-embedded tissue sections. PCR amplification of exon 1 of a K-ras containing codons 12 and 13 was performed. K-ras amplicons were dot-blotted onto nylon filters and hybridized with radiolabeled oligomer primers.
Results: A K-ras mutation was found in 20 of 108 gastric cancers. A significant relationship of K-ras mutation with polypoid cancer was found. The frequency of K-ras mutation was 6/14 (43%), 8/29 (28%), 2/11 (18%), and 4/54 (7%) in type 1 to 4 tumors, respectively. K-ras mutation was correlated with well-differentiated tumors. Of various types of K-ras mutations, 12 Asp often was seen in type 1 and 2 gastric cancers (well-demarcated, elevated tumors), while 12 Val and 12 Ser were often seen in type 3 and 4 cases (infiltrating carcinomas).
Conclusion: K-ras mutations occur prominently in type 1 and type 2 gastric cancers.