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Relation between K-ras codon 12 mutation and p53 protein overexpression in gallbladder cancer and biliary ductal epithelia in patients with pancreaticobiliary maljunction.

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Department of Surgery, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan.


It is well known that the incidence of biliary cancer is higher in patients with pancreaticobiliary maljunction (PBM) than in individuals without PBM. However, the relationship between PBM and the carcinogenesis remains unclear. The purpose of the present study was to examine histopathologic changes in the mucosa of the gallbladder and bile duct in patients with PBM, and to investigate K-ras oncogene mutation and overexpression of p53 protein in the mucosa. We examined 47 surgical specimens of gallbladder and 36 surgical specimens of bile duct obtained from 48 patients with PBM. The 48 patients were divided into three age groups: group A (0-3 years), group B (4-39 years), and group C (40 years or more). Investigation of K-ras mutation and overexpression of p53 protein was performed using an enriched polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked mini-sequence assay (ELMA), and by the streptavidin-biotin (SAB) method, using DO-7 antibodies, respectively. Hyperplastic changes in the gallbladder mucosa were observed in patients in the three groups. However, metaplastic or dysplastic changes were observed in the mucosa of only groups B and C. K-ras gene mutation in the gallbladder mucosa was found in 18.8% of the hyperplastic mucosae in group B and in 20% in group C. The mutation was found in 33.3% of lesions with metaplastic change associated with hyperplastic changes and in 25% of lesions with dysplastic changes in group C. No mutation was observed in the non-cancerous mucosae of gallbladders and bile ducts without congenital dilatation of the bile duct. Overexpression of p53 protein was observed only in carcinoma of the gallbladder; in seven of nine advanced carcinomas and in two of three carcinomas in situ. We concluded that the mucosal epithelia of the biliary system in patients with PBM showed a high frequency of gene mutations and the carcinogenesis appeared in involve a multistage process of mutation in the K-ras gene and the p53 suppressor gene.

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