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Exp Ther Med. 2012 Jul;4(1):109-112. Epub 2012 May 2.

Potential clinical significance of plasma-based KRAS mutation analysis using the COLD-PCR/TaqMan(®) -MGB probe genotyping method.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, The 4th Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University;


Despite the improved ability to detect mutations in recent years, tissue specimens cannot always be procured in a clinical setting, particularly from patients with recurrence of tumors or metastasis. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether plasma is able to be used for mutation analysis instead of tissue specimens. We collected plasma from 62 patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) prior to treatment. DNA extracted from plasma and matched tumor tissues were obtained. Mutations in KRAS were amplified from the tissue specimens and sequenced by regular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and co-amplification at lower denaturation temperature (COLD)-PCR. Plasma KRAS gene mutation on codon 12 (GGT>GAT) was detected using a nested COLD-PCR/TaqMan(®) -MGB probe. Mutations in plasma and matched tumors were compared. KRAS mutation on codon 12 (GGT>GAT) was found in 13 (21.0%) plasma specimens and 12 (19.4%) matched tumor tissues. The consistency of KRAS mutations between plasma and tumors was 75% (9/12), which indicated a high correlation between the mutations detected in plasma DNA and the mutations detected in the corresponding tumor DNA (P<0.001; correlation index, k=0.649). Notably, four (6.5%) patients with plasma DNA mutations had no detectable KRAS mutations in the corresponding primary tumors, and three (4.8%) patients with tumor DNA mutations had no detectable KRAS mutations in the corresponding plasma DNA samples. Thus, KRAS mutations in plasma DNA correlate with the mutation status in matched tumor tissues of patients with CRC. Our study provides evidence to suggest that plasma DNA may be used as a potential medium for KRAS mutation analysis in CRC using the COLD-PCR/TaqMan-MGB probe method.

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