KRAS and guanine nucleotide-binding protein mutations in pancreatic juice collected from the duodenum of patients at high risk for neoplasia undergoing endoscopic ultrasound

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 May;13(5):963-9.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2014.11.028. Epub 2014 Dec 4.


Background & aims: Pancreatic imaging can identify neoplastic cysts but not microscopic neoplasms. Mutation analysis of pancreatic fluid after secretin stimulation might identify microscopic neoplasias in the pancreatic duct system. We determined the prevalence of mutations in KRAS and guanine nucleotide-binding protein α-stimulating genes in pancreatic juice from subjects undergoing endoscopic ultrasound for suspected pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, or pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Methods: Secretin-stimulated juice samples were collected from the duodenum of 272 subjects enrolled in Cancer of the Pancreas Screening studies; 194 subjects were screened because of a family history of, or genetic predisposition to, pancreatic cancer, and 78 subjects were evaluated for pancreatic cancer (n = 30) or other disorders (controls: pancreatic cysts, pancreatitis, or normal pancreata, n = 48). Mutations were detected by digital high-resolution melt-curve analysis and pyrosequencing. The number of replicates containing a mutation determined the mutation score.

Results: KRAS mutations were detected in pancreatic juice from larger percentages of subjects with pancreatic cancer (73%) or undergoing cancer screening (50%) than controls (19%) (P = .0005). A greater proportion of patients with pancreatic cancer had at least 1 KRAS mutation detected 3 or more times (47%) than screened subjects (21%) or controls (6%, P = .002). Among screened subjects, mutations in KRAS (but not guanine nucleotide-binding protein α-stimulating) were found in similar percentages of patients with or without pancreatic cysts. However, a greater proportion of patients older than age 50 years had KRAS mutations (54.6%) than younger patients (36.3%) (P = .032); the older subjects also had more mutations in KRAS (P = .02).

Conclusions: Mutations in KRAS are detected in pancreatic juice from the duodenum of 73% of patients with pancreatic cancer, and 50% of asymptomatic individuals with a high risk for pancreatic cancer. However, KRAS mutations were detected in pancreatic juice from 19% of controls. Mutations detected in individuals without pancreatic abnormalities, based on imaging analyses, likely arise from small pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions. no: NCT00438906 and NCT00714701.

Keywords: EUS; Early Detection; IPMN; PDAC; Screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Pancreatic Juice / chemistry*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Transition Temperature
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • KRAS protein, human
  • NUBP1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • DNA
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins

Associated data