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Pathol Res Pract. 2011 Dec 15;207(12):762-8. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2011.10.002. Epub 2011 Nov 8.

Frequency of KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations in advanced colorectal cancers: Comparison of peptide nucleic acid-mediated PCR clamping and direct sequencing in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue.

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Department of Pathology, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Republic of Korea.


KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutation testing before administration of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) has become important. However, considerable uncertainty exists regarding which detection method can be applied in a reproducible, sensitive, and simple manner in the routine diagnostic setting. We compared the detection rates of KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations in 92 routine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded CRC specimens by 2 discrete methods: direct sequencing and peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-mediated PCR. The detection rates for KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations by direct sequencing were 20.7%, 3.3%, and 1.1%, respectively. PNA-mediated PCR clamping significantly increased the percentages of KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations by up to 7.6%, 1.2%, and 5.4%, respectively, compared to the detection rate of regular PCR followed by direct sequencing (p=0.039, p=0.250, and p=0.031, respectively). The tumor volume of discordant cases was not significantly different from concordant cases (56.2±28.7% vs. 67.6±17.9%, p=0.41), which implies that there is a minor population of mutant alleles in the heterogeneous tumor population. The PNA-mediated PCR clamping method is highly sensitive and is efficiently applicable to the detection of KRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations in a clinical setting.

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