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Cancer. 2000 Feb 1;88(3):518-23.

H-ras gene mutations in salivary gland mucoepidermoid carcinomas.

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1
Department of Pathology, Catholic University, St. Vincent Hospital, Suwon, South Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The authors' recent investigation of salivary gland tumors in ras gene alteration has suggested that K-ras activation may not play a role in their oncogenesis but H-ras may, especially in mucoepidermoid carcinomas. A study was undertaken to assess the overall incidence of mutated H-ras genes in mucoepidermoid carcinomas and to discover its potential correlation with clinicopathologic parameters.

METHODS:

Fifty samples from patients with salivary gland mucoepidermoid carcinoma were analyzed for point mutations at codons 12, 13, and 61 of the H-ras gene using the polymerase chain reaction followed by automated direct sequencing methodology.

RESULTS:

Mutated H-ras genes were detected in 9 patients, for an overall incidence of 18% (9 of 50 patients). All but 1 of the mutations occurred at codon 12: a GGC-to-GTC transversion in 8 patients and a GGC-to-GAC transition in 1 patient, resulting in the amino acid substitution of valine and aspartic acid, respectively, for glycine. One of the samples showed concurrent mutations at codons 12 (GGC-to-GTC) and 13 (GGT-to-GGA). None of the samples demonstrated mutations involving codon 61. The H-ras mutations were observed in 5% (1of 21), 17% (2 of 12), and 35% (6 of 17) of low, intermediate, and high grade lesions, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest involvement of H-ras activation in conjunction with other yet-unknown events in the development and/or progression of mucoepidermoid carcinomas. It is noteworthy that a stepwise increase in the frequency of H-ras mutations strongly correlates with tumor grade (P = 0.017). Molecular analysis of this gene alteration may provide assistance in the determination of tumor grade and differentiation.

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