Mutations of K-ras oncogene and absence of H-ras mutations in squamous cell carcinomas of the lung
Clinical Cancer Research
Mutations of the K-ras gene have been implicated in the pathogenesis of human lung adenocarcinomas. In most studies published so far, squamous cell lung cancers harbored ras mutations only exceptionally or no mutations were detected at all. We have examined 141 lung tumor DNA samples for mutations in codons 12, 13, and 61 of K-ras and H-ras oncogenes. A large panel of 118 squamous cell carcinomas was included in the study. For K-ras codon 12, we used a sensitive two-step PCR-restriction
... length polymorphism method which detects <1% of mutated DNA in the sample. K-ras mutations were found in 17 tumors (12%; 14 in codon 12 and 3 in codon 13). Among 19 adenocarcinomas, mutation was revealed in 7 samples (37%). Of these, one sample harbored two point mutations in codon 12. Nine mutational events were found in squamous cell carcinomas (8%, one adenosquamous carcinoma included, all in codon 12). Of four large cell carcinomas, one contained a mutation. Mutant-enriched PCR products harboring mutations were directly sequenced. Fifteen mutational events were G-->T transversions or G-->A transitions, one was a G-->C transition, and one sample revealed a frameshift deletion of one G from codon 12. Similar mutational spectrum was found in both squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas, suggesting similar carcinogenic pathways in both histological types of the tumor. The presence of mutations did not correlate with the stage of the disease. Moreover, we analyzed all samples for mutations in codons 12, 13, and 61 of the H-ras gene. We found only one mutation in codon 12. Thus, H-ras mutations apparently play an inferior role in lung carcinogenesis. We conclude that mutations of the K-ras oncogene can play a role in the development of not only lung adenocarcinomas but also of a subset (about 8%) of squamous cell carcinomas.