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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Feb 1;88(3):911-5.

Mutational activation of the c-Ha-ras gene in liver tumors of different rodent strains: correlation with susceptibility to hepatocarcinogenesis.

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  • 1Institute of Experimental Pathology, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg.


The frequency and pattern of mutations at codon 61 of the c-Ha-ras gene have been analyzed in 195 liver tumors and 132 precancerous liver lesions from various rodent strains with differing susceptibility to hepatocarcinogenesis. By using the polymerase chain reaction and allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization, C----A transversions at the first base and A----T transversions or A----G transitions at the second base of c-Ha-ras codon 61 were detected in 20-60% of spontaneous or carcinogen-induced liver tumors of the C3H/He, CBA, CF1, and B6C3F1 mouse strains, which are highly susceptible to hepatocarcinogenesis. No such mutations, however, could be found in any of the 31 liver tumors of the insensitive C57BL/6J and BALB/c mouse strains or in any of the 35 liver tumors of the comparatively resistant Wistar rat. Further analyses of c-Ha-ras codon 12 mutations in liver tumors from the three insensitive rodent strains also failed to give any positive results. In early precancerous liver lesions, c-Ha-ras codon 61 mutations were found in 13-14% of lesions of the sensitive C3H/He and B6C3F1 mouse strains but not in any of the 34 lesions of the insensitive C57BL/6J mouse. Taken together, our results indicate a close correlation between the mutational activation of the c-Ha-ras gene in liver tumors of the different rodent strains and their susceptibility to hepatocarcinogenesis, whereby the mutations appear to provide a selective growth advantage, leading to a clonal expansion of the mutated liver cell population, only in livers of sensitive but not of insensitive strains.

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