The frequency of Ki-ras gene mutations was studied in 100 paraffin-embedded sections obtained from 63 pancreatic adenocarcinomas by in vitro amplification of target sequences via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and selective oligonucleotide hybridization. Forty-seven (75%) of the tumors contained a Ki-ras mutation at codon 12. No predominant amino acid substitution or nucleotide transition at this codon was observed. Two carcinomas exhibited 2 distinct Ki-ras mutations. No particular correlation could be established between the incidence of Ki-ras mutation and clinical parameters (sex, age, survival), tumor grade or tumor stage.