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Am J Pathol. 1991 Oct;139(4):777-85.

K-ras activation occurs frequently in mucinous adenocarcinomas and rarely in other common epithelial tumors of the human ovary.

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Laboratory of Comparative Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland.


To explore the role of mutational activation of members of the ras family of cellular protooncogenes in the development of human ovarian neoplasms, a series of 37 ovarian tumors from Japanese patients was studied. These included 30 common epithelial tumors (1 mucinous tumor of borderline malignancy, 7 mucinous adenocarcinomas, and 22 nonmucinous carcinomas: 10 serous, 3 clear cell, 8 endometrioid, and 1 undifferentiated), 5 tumors of germ cell origin, and 2 sex cord/stromal cell tumors. Polymerase chain reaction was performed from selected areas of deparaffinized sections of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue, and the presence of activating point mutations in codons 12, 13, and 61 of the H-, N-, and K-ras genes was probed by dot-blot hybridization analysis with mutation specific oligonucleotides. Mutations in K-ras were also looked for by direct genomic sequencing. The overall frequency of ras gene mutations was 10/37 (27%). Mutations were detected only in K-ras, and were found in most of the mucinous tumors, including the one such tumor of borderline malignancy (6/8; 75%). In one mucinous adenocarcinoma, two mutations were detected in paraffin-embedded material that had not previously been found in high molecular weight DNA isolated from frozen tissue from the same case. K-ras mutations occurred significantly more frequently in mucinous tumors (6/8, 75%) than in serous carcinomas (2/10, 20%; P = 0.031) or in all nonmucinous types of epithelial ovarian tumors combined (3/22, 14%; P = 0.0031).

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