Incidence and possible clinical significance of K-ras oncogene activation in adenocarcinoma of the human lung.

Rodenhuis S, Slebos RJ, Boot AJ, Evers SG, Mooi WJ, Wagenaar SS, van Bodegom PC, Bos JL
Cancer Res. 1988 48 (20): 5738-41

PMID: 3048648

47 tumor samples, 45 of which were obtained at thoracotomy for non-small cell lung cancer were examined for mutational activation of the oncogenes H-ras, K-ras, and N-ras. A novel, highly sensitive assay based on oligonucleotide hybridization following an in vitro amplification step was employed. ras gene mutations were present in nine of 35 adenocarcinomas of the lung (all K-ras), in two of two lung metastases of colorectal adenocarcinomas (1 x K-ras, 1 x N-ras) and in one adenocarcinoma sample obtained at autopsy (H-ras). All K-ras and H-ras mutations were in either position 1 or 2 of codon 12, while the N-ras mutation was in position 2 of codon 61. The potential clinical significance of K-ras activation was analyzed using the combined results of this and of our earlier study (S. Rodenhuis et al., New Engl. J. Med., 317: 929-935, 1987). Lung adenocarcinomas with K-ras mutations tended to be smaller and were less likely to have spread to regional lymph nodes at presentation. With a median follow up of 10 months, survival data are still immature. None of six adenocarcinomas of nonsmokers had a K-ras mutation and only one of four who had stopped smoking more than 5 years before. We conclude that mutational K-ras activation is present in about a third of adenocarcinomas of the lung and that the mutational event may be a direct result of one or more carcinogenic ingredients of tobacco smoke. Studies involving larger numbers of patients are required to confirm the association of K-ras activation with smoking and the inverse relation with tumor progression.

MeSH Terms (9)

Adenocarcinoma Codon Gene Expression Regulation Genes, ras Humans Lung Neoplasms Mutation Oncogenes Smoking

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