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Cancer. 1994 Mar 15;73(6):1589-94.

Detection of point mutations in the K-ras oncogene at codon 12 in pure pancreatic juice for diagnosis of pancreatic carcinoma.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo.



Mutations in the K-ras oncogene at codon 12 are detected at a remarkably high frequency in pancreatic carcinomas and are believed to be a critical event in oncogenesis. The authors attempted to detect K-ras mutations in DNA obtained from pure pancreatic juice collected endoscopically, as a novel diagnostic approach to pancreatic carcinoma.


K-ras mutations were examined using the two-step polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with restriction enzyme digestion, followed by nonradioisotopic single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis.


Specific mutations of the K-ras gene at codon 12 were found in six of nine (67%) duct cell carcinomas, all of which were negative by cytodiagnosis of the same pure pancreatic juice. K-ras mutations were not detected in the pancreatic juice from 14 healthy control subjects, 10 patients with chronic pancreatitis, or 3 patients with islet cell tumors.


Detection of K-ras mutation at codon 12 in pancreatic juice is highly specific for diagnosing pancreatic duct cell carcinoma and may be a valuable diagnostic modality for pancreatic carcinoma and for differentiating chronic pancreatitis from carcinoma.

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