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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Does detection of K-ras mutations in pancreatic juice influence clinical decision making?

The majority of patients with pancreatic cancer harbour mutations in the K-ras gene. This oncogene may be detected in material obtained at endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), such as bile and pancreatic juice. Since a formal tissue diagnosis may be difficult to establish in pancreatic cancer, detection of K-ras in these materials is an attractive approach to diagnosis. A variety of molecular techniques has been used to detect K-ras, and frequency of the mutation may vary between different populations. In this issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Boadas et al. collected pancreatic juice following secretin stimulation at the time of ERCP, and detected K-ras in 44% of patients with pancreatic cancer. They found the mutation in 16% of patients with chronic pancreatitis. Presence of the mutation, therefore, is not specific enough to recommend its use in the clinical diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Chronic pancreatitis patients with the mutation may be at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those patients without the mutation, but there is no clear consensus on management and follow-up of these patients.[1]


  1. Does detection of K-ras mutations in pancreatic juice influence clinical decision making? O'Mahony, S., Sreedharan, A. European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology. (2001) [Pubmed]
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