Comparative analysis of pyrosequencing and QMC-PCR in conjunction with high resolution melting for KRAS/BRAF mutation detection

Int J Exp Pathol. 2010 Dec;91(6):500-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2010.00733.x. Epub 2010 Sep 7.


Mutation detection is important in cancer management. Several methods are available of which high resolution melting (HRM) analysis and pyrosequencing are the most versatile. We undertook a comparative analysis of these techniques. The methods are: To compare the limit of detection (LOD), mutations in KRAS (codon 12/13 hotspot) and BRAF (V600E hotspot) were tested. DNA mixtures containing mutant alleles at a frequency of around 25%/12.5%/6%/3%/ 1.5%/0.8% were analysed. To compare frequency of mutation detection, 22 DNA samples (nine high quality samples from cell lines, 13 low quality samples from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue) were tested for three hotspots in KRAS (codons 12/13, 61 and 146) and two hotspots in BRAF (V600E and exon 11). HRM analysis of KRAS (codon12/13) and BRAF (V600E) showed that 3% and 1.5% mutant alleles respectively could be reliably detected whilst pyrosequencing reliably detected 6% mutant alleles in each case. Of 110 tests performed on 22 DNA samples, in 109 cases HRM and pyrosequencing gave identical results. Two of the samples tested had previously been called as wild type for KRAS by direct Sanger sequencing but were found to be mutant by both HRM and pyrosequencing. Both HRM and pyrosequencing can detect small numbers of mutant alleles although HRM has a lower limit of detection. Both are suitable for use in mutation detection and are both more sensitive than Sanger sequencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / methods*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Mutation
  • Paraffin Embedding
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins