The usefulness of K-ras mutation in pancreatic juice for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is questionable. Telomerase is positive in pancreatic cancer but rarely in benign pancreatic diseases. We conducted this study to determine the usefulness of K-ras mutation and telomerase activity in pancreatic juice for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic juice collected during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography was examined in 31 patients: 12 with pancreatic cancer, 11 with chronic pancreatitis, and 8 control patients. The K-ras gene was detected by using the restriction fragment length polymorphism method. Telomerase activity was detected by using the telomeric repeat amplification protocol.
K-ras mutation was positive in 75% (9 of 12) of pancreatic cancers and in 27% (3 of 11) of cases of chronic pancreatitis but in none of the control patients. Telomerase activity was detected in 92% (11 of 12) of pancreatic cancers and in 18% (2 of 11) of cases of chronic pancreatitis. The diagnostic value in pancreatic cancer was comparable between K-ras mutation and telomerase when evaluated separately. However, by combining these 2 methods, the specificity rose to 100%.
For the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, telomerase activity in pancreatic juice may possibly be complementary to K-ras mutation because it may decrease the rate of false-positive diagnosis.