The aim of this study was to investigate mutations of the K-ras oncogene and the p53 tumor suppressor gene in pancreatic juice and to evaluate our method for the diagnosis of intraductal papillary mucinous tumors (IPMT). Pancreatic juice was collected endoscopically from 12 patients with IPMT who underwent surgical resection (eight carcinomas and four adenomas) and eight cases without evident pancreatic diseases. DNA was extracted and both genes were examined by polymerase chain reaction single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analysis and direct sequencing. In addition, surgically resected specimens were analyzed for both genes by the same methods, and p53 overexpression was investigated immunohistochernically. K-ras point mutations were detected in pancreatic juice from all 12 patients (100%) and p53 mutations were detected in five of 12 (42%). They were detected not only in carcinoma but also in adenoma and there was no difference between the mutations detected in pancreatic juice and surgical specimens. No mutations were found in any cases without pancreatic diseases. These findings suggest that alterations of K-ras and p53 gene are common events in the development of IPMT and that genetic analysis of them in pancreatic juice can be a useful tool for the clinical diagnosis of IPMT before surgery.