Mutational status of KRAS and MMR genes in a series of colorectal carcinoma cases

Vol. 59 No. 1, 2018


Florina Lucia Cionca, Maria Dobre, Camelia-Marioara Dobrea, Cristina-Ileana Iosif, Maria Victoria Comanescu, Carmen Maria Ardeleanu

Background: The KRAS gene mutation is the most common somatic change in colorectal carcinoma (CRC) and is predictive of resistance to anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy in the metastatic forms. Microsatellite instability (MSI), a mismatch repair (MMR) system defect, accounts for 15-20% of all CRCs, more frequent in early stages. CRCs with MSI present better prognosis, a distinct histopathological aspect and a different response to chemotherapy. Patients with both KRAS wild type and MSI have a reduced risk of dissemination and recurrence. Materials and Methods: Our study included formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples from 40 patients with metastatic CRCs, aged between 40 and 71 years old, gender (males/females) ratio 2.33:1. The MMR proteins were analyzed using an indirect bistadial immunohistochemical (IHC) technique with monoclonal antibodies. KRAS mutations were detected by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis. Results: Of the 40 tumors analyzed, 40% presented KRAS mutations located in codon 12 or codon 13. IHC expression of MMR proteins revealed a microsatellite stable status in 35 cases, including 15 cases with mutated KRAS. MSI status was identified in five cases (four with KRAS wild type). All MSI tumors had a poorer histological differentiation and four cases revealed a mucinous phenotype. Eighty percent of the patients with MSI status were older women. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates a 20% frequency of mutated KRAS in MSI CRCs, the incidence of KRAS mutations being inversely correlated with MSI status in these tumors. MMR protein deficient CRCs tend to occur in older females, have a poorer differentiation and are frequently associated with KRAS wild type.

Corresponding author: Florina Lucia Cionca, MD, PhD Student; e-mail:

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