ISSN: 0034-8376
eISSN: 2564-8896






Complete Screening of Exons 2, 3, and 4 of KRAS and NRAS Genes Reveals a Higher Number of Clinically Relevant Mutations than Food and Drug Administration Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction-Based Commercial Kits



Héctor E. Sánchez-Ibarra, Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis SA de CV., Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Luisa M. Reyes-Cortes, Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis SA de CV., Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Esteban López-Tavera, Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis SA de CV., Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Claudia M. Luna-Aguirre, Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis SA de CV., Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Hugo A. Barrera-Saldaña, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Monterrey, N.L.; Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Monterrey, N.L.; Genetics Laboratory, Vitagénesis SA de CV., Monterrey, NL.; Mexico


Background: The presence of clinically relevant mutations in KRAS and NRAS genes determines the response of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody therapy for metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The only quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based diagnostic tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) screen merely for mutations in codons 12 and 13 of KRAS. Objective: The objective of the study was to study the frequency of clinically relevant mutations in KRAS and NRAS genes that are not included in FDA-approved qPCR tests. Methods: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor specimens from 1113 mCRC Mexican patients from different health institutions across the country were analyzed by Sanger sequencing for KRAS mutations in exons 2, 3, and 4. Furthermore, 83 were analyzed in exons 2, 3, and 4 of NRAS. Results: From the specimens tested for KRAS, 33.69% harbored a mutation. From these, 71.77% were in codon 12 and 27.69% in codon 13 (both located in exon 2). Codons 59 (exon 3) and 146 (exon 4) accounted for the remaining 0.54%. From the 83 specimens, in which NRAS was analyzed, three mutations were found in codon 12 (3.61%). Approximately 6% of RAS mutated specimens would have been falsely reported as RAS wild type if an FDA-approved qPCR diagnostic test had been used. Conclusions: While these kits based on qPCR can be very practical and highly sensitive, their mutation coverage ignores mutations from poorly genetically characterized populations.



Keywords: Colorectal cancer. Molecular diagnostics. RAS genes. Real-time polymerase chain reaction. Sanger sequencing.