Progression of Chronic Pancreatitis to Pancreatic Cancer: Is There a Role of Gene Mutations as a Screening Tool?

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ObjectivesEarly detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma still remains a challenge. Patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP) have a markedly increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Mutations in oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes play a role in development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. This study assessed mutations in KRAS and p53 gene in blood as a screening tool for malignant transformation in CP patients.MethodsThis was a cohort, single-center study including 294 CP patients. DNA was isolated from plasma of CP patients, and KRAS mutations were identified using polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism. Patients with positive KRAS mutation were screened for malignancy using positron emission tomography or endoscopic ultrasound. Mutations in p53 gene were analyzed by sequencing. Tissue samples from CP and pancreatic cancer patients were also tested for mutations in KRAS and p53 genes.ResultsThe plasma samples of 64 CP patients were positive for KRAS mutation, and 4 had mutation in p53 gene also. No patient positive for KRAS mutation and/or p53 mutation was found to have malignant transformation.ConclusionDetection of KRAS or p53 mutation in plasma is not an effective screening tool for pancreatic cancer because accumulation of multiple mutations is required for malignant transformation in the pancreas.

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