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Br J Cancer. 1997;75(3):341-7.

A detailed analysis of the role of K-ras gene mutation in the progression of colorectal adenoma.

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Department of Surgery II, Osaka University Medical School, Yamada-oka, Suita, Japan.


To elucidate the role of ras gene mutations during the early stage of colorectal tumour progression, K-ras gene mutations were analysed in 32 benign adenomas and 36 adenomas with focal carcinoma in the colorectum by microscraping of histologically pure regions from tissue sections, polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and in part by direct sequencing. Several regions were scraped out and analysed when an adenoma contained areas with different grades of dysplasia. The frequencies of K-ras gene mutation in mild dysplasia, moderate dysplasia and focal carcinoma were 19% (7/36), 51% (25/49) and 39% (14/36) respectively. The K-ras gene status was heterogeneous in 4 of the 11 benign adenomas from which multiple samples were obtained, and mutations were always found in the regions with more advanced dysplasia in these adenomas. Thirteen of the 36 adenomas with focal carcinoma showed heterogeneity of mutations between the adenoma region and the focal carcinoma. Seven of which had mutations only in the adenoma region. These findings indicated that the K-ras gene mutations occur during the late stage of adenoma progression and may confer a more advanced morphological phenotype of adenoma, but these mutations are not mainly involved in malignant transformation from adenoma to carcinoma.

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