Detection of point mutations in the K-ras oncogene at codon 12 in pure pancreatic juice for diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma

Cancer. 1994 Mar 15;73(6):1589-94. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19940315)73:6<1589::aid-cncr2820730609>;2-7.


Background: Mutations in the K-ras oncogene at codon 12 are detected at a remarkably high frequency in pancreatic carcinomas and are believed to be a critical event in oncogenesis. The authors attempted to detect K-ras mutations in DNA obtained from pure pancreatic juice collected endoscopically, as a novel diagnostic approach to pancreatic carcinoma.

Methods: K-ras mutations were examined using the two-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with restriction enzyme digestion, followed by nonradioisotopic single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis.

Results: Specific mutations of the K-ras gene at codon 12 were found in six of nine (67%) duct cell carcinomas, all of which were negative by cytodiagnosis of the same pure pancreatic juice. K-ras mutations were not detected in the pancreatic juice from 14 healthy control subjects, 10 patients with chronic pancreatitis, or 3 patients with islet cell tumors.

Conclusions: Detection of K-ras mutation at codon 12 in pancreatic juice is highly specific for diagnosing pancreatic duct cell carcinoma and may be a valuable diagnostic modality for pancreatic carcinoma and for differentiating chronic pancreatitis from carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / chemistry
  • Adenoma, Islet Cell / genetics
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Carcinoma / chemistry
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Codon / genetics*
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genes, ras / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Juice / chemistry*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / genetics
  • Pancreatitis / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics


  • Codon
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • DNA