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Am J Gastroenterol. 1999 Sep;94(9):2513-8.

Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by detecting telomerase activity in pancreatic juice: comparison with K-ras mutations.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease, Higashinari, Japan.



Telomerase activity is reported to be specific and very frequent in human malignancy. K-ras mutations are also very frequently detected in pancreatic cancer, but their specificity for pancreatic cancer is controversial. We examined the telomerase activity and K-ras mutations in pancreatic juice from patients with pancreatic disease.


Pancreatic juice was obtained endoscopically at endoscopic retrograde pancreatography from 10 patients with pancreatic cancer, three with chronic pancreatitis, and three with a normal pancreas. The telomerase activity in pancreatic juice was assayed by telomeric repeat amplification protocol. K-ras mutations in exon 1 codon 12 were examined by the two-step polymerase chain reaction combined with restriction enzyme digestion, followed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis and direct sequencing.


Telomerase activity of >5.0 was detected in eight of 10 (80%) subjects with pancreatic cancer, but in none with chronic pancreatitis or normal pancreas. K-ras mutations were detected not only in eight of 10 (80%) subjects with pancreatic cancer but also in two of three with chronic pancreatitis and in one of three with a normal pancreas.


It was shown that the detection of telomerase activity in pancreatic juice is a more useful diagnostic tool for pancreatic cancer than that of K-ras mutations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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