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Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Sep 1;18(17):4753-63. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-3210. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

Specific mutations in KRAS codons 12 and 13, and patient prognosis in 1075 BRAF wild-type colorectal cancers.

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Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 450 Brookline Ave., Room JF-215C, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



To assess prognostic roles of various KRAS oncogene mutations in colorectal cancer, BRAF mutation status must be controlled for because BRAF mutation is associated with poor prognosis, and almost all BRAF mutants are present among KRAS wild-type tumors. Taking into account experimental data supporting a greater oncogenic effect of codon 12 mutations compared with codon 13 mutations, we hypothesized that KRAS codon 12-mutated colorectal cancers might behave more aggressively than KRAS wild-type tumors and codon 13 mutants.


Using molecular pathological epidemiology database of 1,261 rectal and colon cancers, we examined clinical outcome and tumor biomarkers of KRAS codon 12 and 13 mutations in 1,075 BRAF wild-type cancers (i.e., controlling for BRAF status). Cox proportional hazards model was used to compute mortality HR, adjusting for potential confounders, including stage, PIK3CA mutations, microsatellite instability, CpG island methylator phenotype, and LINE-1 methylation.


Compared with patients with KRAS wild-type/BRAF wild-type cancers (N = 635), those with KRAS codon 12 mutations (N = 332) experienced significantly higher colorectal cancer-specific mortality [log-rank P = 0.0001; multivariate HR, 1.30; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.02-1.67; P = 0.037], whereas KRAS codon 13-mutated cases (N = 108) were not significantly associated with prognosis. Among the seven most common KRAS mutations, c.35G>T (p.G12V; N = 93) was associated with significantly higher colorectal cancer-specific mortality (log-rank P = 0.0007; multivariate HR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.38-2.90, P = 0.0003) compared with KRAS wild-type/BRAF wild-type cases.


KRAS codon 12 mutations (in particular, c.35G>T), but not codon 13 mutations, are associated with inferior survival in BRAF wild-type colorectal cancer. Our data highlight the importance of accurate molecular characterization in colorectal cancer.

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