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Br J Cancer. 1990 Mar;61(3):365-8.

Low incidence of ras oncogene activation in human squamous cell carcinomas.

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Department of Chemical Pathology, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


Activation of the ras gene family by point mutation at codons 12, 13 and 61 has been demonstrated in up to 20% of unselected series of human tumours. The present study was carried out to assess the incidence of ras activation in 37 squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, seven squamous cell carcinomas of the skin and eight squamous carcinoma cell lines. Oligonucleotide probes and the polymerase chain reaction were used on DNA extracted from achival paraffin embedded material. Mutations in codon 12 of the Harvey ras gene was found in a carcinoma of the larynx and a carcinoma of the lip, both of which had received prior irradiation. A cell line (LICR-LON-HN8) established from the same laryngeal cancer showed the same mutation. This study indicates that there is a low incidence of ras mutation in human squamous cell carcinomas and that activation of this family of genes is probably not a common factor in the development of this group of tumours.

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