SNaPshot and StripAssay as valuable alternatives to direct sequencing for KRAS mutation detection in colon cancer routine diagnostics

J Mol Diagn. 2011 Mar;13(2):199-205. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2010.10.006.


Although direct sequencing is the gold standard for KRAS mutation detection in routine diagnostics, it remains laborious, time consuming, and not very sensitive. Our objective was to evaluate SNaPshot and the KRAS StripAssay as alternatives to sequencing for KRAS mutation detection in daily practice. KRAS exon 2-specific PCR followed by sequencing or by a SNaPshot reaction was performed. For the StripAssay, a mutant-enriched PCR was followed by hybridization to KRAS-specific probes bound to a nitrocellulose strip. To test sensitivities, dilution series of mutated DNA in wild-type DNA were made. Additionally, direct sequencing and SNaPshot were evaluated in 296 colon cancer samples. Detection limits of direct sequencing, SNaPshot, and StripAssay were 20%, 10%, and 1% tumor cells, respectively. Direct sequencing and SNaPshot can detect all 12 mutations in KRAS codons 12 and 13, whereas the StripAssay detects 10 of the most frequent ones. Workload and time to results are comparable for SNaPshot and direct sequencing. SNaPshot is flexible and easy to multiplex. The StripAssay is less time consuming for daily laboratory practice. SNaPshot is more flexible and slightly more sensitive than direct sequencing. The clinical evaluation showed comparable performances between direct sequencing and SNaPshot. The StripAssay is rapid and an extremely sensitive assay that could be considered when few tumor cells are available. However, found mutants should be confirmed to avoid risk of false positives.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / enzymology
  • Colonic Neoplasms* / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins