Background: Adenocarcinomas and carcinoid tumors are the most common malignant tumors of the small intestine. K-ras oncogene mutations at codon 12 are common in gastric, pancreatic, and colon carcinomas, with an incidence of 35-88%. K-ras mutations have not been extensively studied in either adenocarcinomas or carcinoid tumors of the small bowel. The purpose of this study was to determine whether ras mutations play an important role in the formation of these tumors.
Methods: Archival tissues from 28 adenocarcinomas and 22 carcinoid tumors of the small bowel were studied, along with archival tissues from 32 adenocarcinomas of the large bowel, which were used as controls. DNA from the small intestine tumors was analyzed for K-ras, H-ras, and N-ras oncogene mutations at codons 12, 13, and 61, using polymerase chain reaction and sequence specific oligonucleotide hybridization techniques. Large bowel adenocarcinomas were analyzed for K-ras mutations at codons 12 and 13.
Results: A point mutation of K-ras at codon 12 was detected in 4 of 28 (14.3%) of the small bowel adenocarcinomas, in 12 of 32 (37.5%) of the large bowel adenocarcinomas, and in 0 of 22 small intestine carcinoid tumors. No other K-ras, H-ras, or N-ras mutations were detected in any of the small bowel tumors. Each small intestine K-ras mutation was found in a duodenal adenocarcinoma (4 of 12 cases, 33%), whereas none occurred in 16 other jejunal or ileal adenocarcinomas.
Conclusions: K-ras mutations appear to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of duodenal adenocarcinomas, but they do not appear to be important in the development of jejunal or ileal adenocarcinomas or of carcinoid tumors of the small intestine.