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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Jan;11(1):16-26. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0230. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Does Mutated K-RAS Oncogene Attenuate the Effect of Sulindac in Colon Cancer Chemoprevention?

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
University of Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Pathology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
University Animal Care, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
University of Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.


The NSAID sulindac has been successfully used alone or in combination with other agents to suppress colon tumorigenesis in patients with genetic predisposition and also showed its efficacy in prevention of sporadic colon adenomas. At the same time, some experimental and clinical reports suggest that a mutant K-RAS oncogene may negate sulindac antitumor efficacy. To directly assess sulindac activity at suppressing premalignant lesions carrying K-RAS mutation, we utilized a novel mouse model with an inducible colon-specific expression of the mutant K-ras oncogene (K-rasG12D ). Tumor development and treatment effects were monitored by minimally invasive endoscopic Optical coherence tomography. Expression of the mutant K-ras allele accelerated azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon carcinogenesis in C57BL/6 mice, a strain otherwise resistant to this carcinogen. Sulindac completely prevented AOM-induced tumor formation in K-ras wild-type (K-ras wt) animals. In K-rasG12D -mutant mice, a 38% reduction in tumor number, an 83% reduction in tumor volume (P ≤ 0.01) and an increase in the number of adenoma-free mice (P = 0.04) were observed. The partial response of K-RasG12D animals to sulindac treatment was evident by the decrease in mucosal thickness (P < 0.01) and delay in progression of the precancerous aberrant crypt foci to adenomas. Molecular analyses showed significant induction in cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), cleaved caspase-3 (CC3), and Ki-67 expression by AOM, but not sulindac treatment, in all genotypes. Our data underscore the importance of screening for K-RAS mutations in individuals with colon polyps to provide more personalized interventions targeting mutant K-RAS signaling pathways. Cancer Prev Res; 11(1); 16-26. ©2017 AACR.

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