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The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognostic significance of K-ras mutations in circulating DNA in advanced non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Serum samples were assessed prior to platinum-based chemotherapy start in 67 patients with advanced NSCLC (stage IIIB or IV), treated between April 1999 and June 2002. Patients were not previously treated with chemotherapy. K-ras oncogene mutations at codon 12 were analyzed by genomic amplification and direct sequencing of the patient's DNA present in serum. Pre-treatment serum was available in all 67 patients. Twenty patients (30%) demonstrated K-ras mutations while 47 patients (70%) had wild-type K-ras. Among K-ras mutations, the amino acid glycine was substituted by cystein in 90% and valine in 10%. When patients were grouped according to K-ras genotype, there was no significant difference for any of the baseline patient characteristics. There was a tendency towards a higher response rate for patients with K-ras mutations versus wild-type K-ras in serum, however not statistically significant (p=0.37). Median progression-free survival was 7.3 months versus 5.5 months in patients with mutations and with wild-type K-ras, respectively (p=0.23). For median overall survival time, the mutation group was comparable to the wild-type K-ras group with 12.5 and 11.4 months, respectively (p=0.28). In conclusion, there were no significant differences between the patients with K-ras mutations and those with wild-type genotype with respect to baseline patient characteristics, response rates, progression-free survival, or overall survival.

Original publication




Journal article


Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Publication Date





339 - 346


Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital General Universitario de Valencia, Av. Tres Cruces s/n, 46014 Valencia, Spain.


Humans, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Lung Neoplasms, DNA, Neoplasm, Codon, Prognosis, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Sensitivity and Specificity, Survival Analysis, Gene Amplification, Genotype, Point Mutation, Genes, ras, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Female, Male