It has recently been demonstrated that mutant ras gene was also detected in patients with mucinous cell hyperplasia without adenocarcinoma, indicating that the presence of the mutation could not be a definite marker for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The present study was performed to differentiate pancreatic adenocarcinoma from others by quantification of mutant ras gene in pancreatic juice. By measuring mutant ras gene by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) during its logarithmic phase, the amount was semiquantitatively evaluated between 0.1 and 10% of total DNA that was extracted from pancreatic juice obtained via endoscopy. Semiquantitative analysis revealed that the mutant gene occupied more than 1% of total DNA in eight of 15 patients (53%) with pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and in all three patients (100%) with intraductal papillary neoplasm of the pancreas, but in only two of 19 cases (11%) without neoplasm. Semiquantitative analysis may provide a clinical tool for the differential diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma.