To study the value of monitoring K-ras point mutation at codon 12 and telomerase activity in exfoliated cells obtained from pancreatic duct brushings during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Exfoliated cells obtained from pancreatic duct brushings during ERCP were examined in 27 patients: 23 with pancreatic cancers, 4 with chronic pancreatitis. K-ras point mutation was detected with the polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment-length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Telomerase activity was detected by PCR and telomeric repeat amplification protocol assay (PCR-TRAP-ELISA).
The telomerase activities in 27 patients were measured in 21 exfoliated cell samples obtained from pancreatic duct brushings. D450 value of telomerase activities in pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis were 0.446+/-0.27 and 0.041+/-0.0111, respectively. Seventy-seven point eight percent (14/18) of patients with pancreatic cancer and none of the patients with chronic pancreatitis showed telomerase activity in cells collected from pancreatic duct brushings when cutoff value of telomerase activity was set at 2.0. The K-ras gene mutation rate (72.2%) in pancreatic cancer was higher than that in chronic pancreatitis (33.3%) (P<0.05). In considering of both telomerase activities and K-ras point mutation, the total positive rate was 83.3%(15/18), and the specificity was 100%.
Changes of telomerase activities and K-ras point mutation at codon 12 may be an early event of malignant progression in pancreatic cancer. Detection of telomerase activity and K-ras point mutation at codon 12 may be complementary to each other, and is useful in diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.