, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 33-41

Clinical significance of k-ras and c-erbB-2 mutations in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and chronic pancreatitis

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Background: The differentiation of chronic pancreatitis (CP) from pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PA) remains the great challenge for clinicians. The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of K-ras and c-erbB-2 mutations in PA and CP in order to evaluate their usefulness in differential diagnosis of those diseases.

Methods: The study included 49 patients who underwent Whipple resection or distal pancreatectomy for pancreatic adenocarcinoma (26 subjects) or chronic pancreatitis (23 subjects). DNA from pancreatic tissue was analyzed for K-ras codon 12 and c-erbB-2 mutations with PCR amplifications.

Results: The K-ras gene mutation has been shown in 20 (76.9%) PA cases and in 8 (34.8%) CP cases (p<0.01). Prevalence of c-erbB-2 amplification in patients with PA was 17 (65.3%), which was not different from CP, 16 (56.5%) (p=0.58). There was a significant correlation between K-ras mutation and lymph node metastases (p=0.025) as well as between K-ras mutation and G3 tumor differentiation (p=0.037). Overall median survival in patients with PA was 9.5 mo. There was no relationship between presence of K-ras (p=0.58) or c-erbB-2 (p=0.17) mutation and survival time in PA patients.

Conclusion: Those results may indicate that both K-ras and c-erbB-2 play a role in pancreatic carcinogenesis, however only K-ras may provide an additional tool in differential diagnosis of CP and PC.