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J Cell Biochem Suppl. 2000;34:35-9.

Utilization of K-ras mutations identified in stool DNA for the early detection of colorectal cancer.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa. mailto:zlev@tx.technion.ac.il


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common malignancies in the western world. About 60,000 Americans die of colorectal cancer each year. The annual incidence rate in Israel is 40 per 100,000 persons, namely a total of 2,000 new cases each year. An important step in the progression of colorectal cancer includes induction of activating mutations in the proto-oncogene K-ras. The mutations in K-ras appear early during tumorigenesis, at the intermediate adenoma stage, and thus can be used as a biomarker for early detection in about 40% of colonic tumors. A large yet unknown number of mutated cells are shed from the developing tumor during its progression. Indeed, K-ras mutations were detected in DNA isolated from stool obtained from symptomatic and asymptomatic patients with colorectal cancer, suggesting a novel approach for a noninvasive screening procedure. However, severe difficulties in obtaining reproducible yields of amplifiable DNA from stool, and usage of nonquantitative, time-consuming procedures, hampered further progress in the utilization of K-ras mutations for the early detection of colorectal cancer. Apparently a novel protocol is required that provides reproducible output of amplifiable DNA from small amounts of stool, detects if K-ras mutated DNA is present, and determines the quantity of K-ras mutated cells in the stool sample. In addition, this protocol should be simple, robotics compatible, and thus suitable for cost-effective, large-scale mutation screening. Molecular assays for detecting K-ras mutations and additional biomarkers in stool DNA promise to be highly sensitive, specific, and cost-effective. As such they should be very effective when used in chemoprevention studies and screening protocols for colorectal cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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