Background: Mutations of K-RAS-2 gene and tumour suppressor genes have been found in both colorectal adenomas and carcinomas. The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of K-RAS-2 gene mutations found in initial colorectal adenomas for predicting the risk of metachronous adenomas.
Methods: Genomic DNA was extracted from formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded adenomas larger than 5 mm in diameter removed at the initial total colonoscopy between 1980 and 1982. All patients underwent colonoscopic follow-up for at least 10 years. The sequence of exon 1 of the K-RAS-2 oncogene was amplified with the polymerase chain reaction technique and screened for mutation by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. All suspected mutations were confirmed by direct DNA sequencing. The predictive value of K-RAS-2 gene mutations for the risk of metachronous adenomas was assessed by chi-square testing and logistic regression analysis.
Results: Of 54 patients 39 (72%) were male and 15 (28%) female. At the time the initial adenoma was removed, 31 (57%) patients were younger than 60, whereas 23 (43%) were 60 years or older. Point mutations of the K-RAS-2 oncogene were found in the index adenomas of 15 (27.7%) patients. Mutations were found more frequently in large (> or = 20 mm) adenomas and in adenomas with severe dysplasia (P = 0.0011 and P = 0.0310, respectively). There were no significant associations between K-RAS-2 mutations and anatomic location, histologic type, or number of synchronous initial lesions. Mutations were found predominantly at codon 12 with transversions from GGT to GTT (57%), from GGT to GAT (36%), and from GGT to TTT (one patient). The single mutation found at codon 13 showed a transversion from GGC to GAC. There were significant associations between size (> or = 20 mm) and K-RAS-2 mutation of the initial adenomas and the size (> 5 mm) of metachronous adenomas (P = 0.0259 and P = 0.0265, respectively). However, multivariate analysis showed that K-RAS-2 mutations did not provide a significant additional contribution to the prognostic value of the size of the initial adenoma (odds ratio, 7.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.68-34.48) and the amount of villous structure (odds ratio, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.05-0.90) it contained.
Conclusions: Patients with large (> or = 20 mm) adenomas and adenomas with K-RAS-2 mutations found at the initial examination have a significantly higher risk of developing large (> 5 mm) metachronous adenomas during surveillance. Multivariate analysis of initial adenoma characteristics showed that the risk of metachronous colorectal adenomas can be adequately estimated by the size and the histologic type of the largest initial adenoma and that K-RAS-2 mutations are of secondary importance only. Further studies based on a larger series will have to identify the adenoma characteristics that will help to improve follow-up strategies.