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Int J Cancer. 2000 Nov 20;89(6):469-74.

K-ras oncogene subtype mutations are associated with survival but not expression of p53, p16(INK4A), p21(WAF-1), cyclin D1, erbB-2 and erbB-3 in resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

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Department of Surgery, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Previous studies of molecular prognostic markers following resection for exocrine pancreatic cancer have produced conflicting results. Our aim was to undertake a comprehensive analysis of potentially useful molecular markers in a large, multicentre patient population and to compare these markers with standard pathological prognostic variables. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma were analysed from 157 patients [100 men and 57 women with a median (range) age of 60 (33-77) years] who had undergone pancreatectomy. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect expression of p16(INK4), p53, p21(WAF1), cyclin D1, erbB-2 and erbB-3. Mutations in codons 12 and 13 of the K-ras oncogene were detected by SSCP and sequencing following DNA extraction and amplification by PCR. The median (range) survival post-resection was 12.5 (3-83) months. Abnormalities of p16(INK4), p53, p21(WAF1), cyclin D1, erbB-2 and erbB-3 expression were found in 87%, 41%, 75%, 72%, 33% and 57% of cases, respectively. There was no significant correlation between expression of any of these markers and patient survival. K-ras mutations were found in 73 (75%) of 97 cases with amplifiable DNA. The presence of K-ras mutation alone did not correlate with survival, but there were significant differences in survival according to the type of K-ras mutation (p = 0.0007). Reduced survival was found in patients with GaT, cGT and GcT K-ras mutations compared to GtT, aGT and GaC mutations. In conclusion, survival was associated with type of K-ras mutation but not expression of p16(INK4), p53, p21(WAF1), cyclin D1, erbB-2 and erbB-3.

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