K-ras mutations and benign pancreatic disease

Matthias Löhr, Patrick Maisonneuve, Albert B. Lowenfels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review addresses the history of the ras oncogene, the techniques used to detect molecular alterations in the ras oncogene, and the application of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods to determine point mutations in clinical samples of patients with pancreatic diseases, namely pancreatic carcinoma and chronic pancreatitis. The frequency of ras mutations in pancreatic carcinoma is high, ranging from 70 to almost 100%. The frequence of ras mutations in chronic pancreatitis, either in pancreatic tissue or pancreatic secretions, vary between 0 and 100%. This wide range in part may be owing to differences in sampling, DNA extraction, or PCR method. The meaning of a k-ras mutation is under debate. Taking into account the positivity of ductal hyperplasias in normal pancreas and ras mutations in normal appearing duct cells, this molecular finding may not mean anything. In contrast, ras mutations are associated with smoking, one acknowledged risk factor for pancreatic carcinoma. The need for large prospective cohort studies is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Pancreatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Endoscopy
  • K- ras
  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Pancreatic carcinoma
  • PCR
  • Pure pancreatic juice
  • Ras mutation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • Oncology


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