Ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common form of pancreatic cancer in humans, is associated with activation of the K-ras oncogene in ~90% of cases. In contrast, K-ras mutations are found in <50% of the relatively rare intraductal papillary mucinous tumor (IPMT), which arises in the main pancreatic ducts. Since both adenocarcinomas and IPMTs are believed to arise from ductal cells and progress through similar sequences of morphological changes (i.e. flat hyperplasia, papillary hyperplasia, atypia and carcinoma in situ), it is clear that such progression may not always necessitate activation of the ras oncogene. Experimentally ductal adenocarcinomas of the pancreas can be induced in the hamster model by a brief treatment with N-nitroso (2-hydroxypropyl) (2-oxopropyl)amine (HPOP), while IPMTs can be induced by a combined treatment with HPOP and erotic acid (OA) in an initiational promotion schedule. Since animals are exposed to the carcinogen only once. initiated normal epithelium is expected to give rise to a wide spectrum of neoplastic and preneoplastic lesions, progression of which will depend on the extent of mutagenesis induced at initiation in the targeted cells. In order to investigate the role of K-ras in progression of IPMTs as compared with adenocarcinomas we have examined the presence of K-ras mutations in the above two types of experimentally induced pancreatic cancers, as well as in associated and preneoplastic lesions. K-ras mutations at codons 12. 13 and 61 were determined by a designed restriction fragment length polymorphism method using mismatched nested primers in 77 neoplastic and preneoplastic foci microdissected from 20 pancreases. Mutations were found in all foci of atypical hyperplasia, in carcinomas in situ and invasive cancer, whether such lesions originated in lobular tissue or in the main pancreatic duct. Mutations were also found in papillary hyperplasia and hat hyperplasia in small ducts and also in the main duct at high frequency. With one exception, all ras mutations were G→A transitions at the second base of codon 12. Mutations were occasionally accompanied by excessive presence of the mutant ras allele or loss of the wild-type ras allele, events that were more frequent in atypical hyperplasia (5/17). carcinomas in situ (5/14), IPMTs (2/5) and invasive adenocarcinomas (2/5) than in flat hyperplasia (0/6) or papillary hyperplasia (2/18). Our results demonstrate that: (i) K-ras mutations, predominantly G→A transitions, are present in all experimentally induced hamster tumors; (ii) the incidence of K-ras mutations in IPMTs is lower in humans than in the hamster model; (iii) advanced lesions in both adenocarcinomas and IPMTs were frequently associated with an excess of the mutant over the wild-type K-ras allele. It is likely that both adenocarcinomas and IPMTs induced chemically in the hamster model arise by mechanisms which involve early activation of K-ras. Such a mechanism seems to be applicable only in a fraction of human IPMTs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research