Utility of serum DNA as a marker for KRAS mutations in pancreatic cancer tissue

Soichiro Ako, Kazuhiro Nouso, Hideaki Kinugasa, Chihiro Dohi, Hiroshi Matushita, Sho Mizukawa, Shinichiro Muro, Yutaka Akimoto, Daisuke Uchida, Takeshi Tomoda, Kazuyuki Matsumoto, Shigeru Horiguchi, Koichiro Tsutsumi, Hironari Kato, Hiroyuki Okada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives The detection of cancer-specific DNA in peripheral blood, known as a liquid biopsy, has been reported recently. Most such studies have used plasma as a sample; however, whether or not serum can be used as effectively is unclear. We attempted to clarify suitable samples for detecting KRAS mutations in circulating DNA in the blood of pancreatic cancer patients using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Methods DNA was extracted from the tissue, plasma, and serum of 40 pancreatic cancer patients. The presence of KRAS mutations G12D, G12V, and G12R was analyzed by droplet digital PCR. Results The amount of DNA isolated from the serum was much higher than that from plasma (1.0- to 42.0-fold). At least 1 KRAS mutation was observed in 93% of cancer tissues, whereas we detected the mutations in only 48% of the serum and plasma DNA samples. The G12D mutation was the most prevalent of the three mutations, followed by the G12V mutation. The presence of the G12D KRAS mutation in the plasma, serum, or tissue did not correlate to the overall survival; however, the prognosis of the patients with a KRAS mutation at G12V in the plasma or serum was significantly poorer than that of the patients without the mutation (P < 0.01). Conclusions Serum and plasma were found to be good materials for detecting cancer-specific DNA in the peripheral blood and the presence of KRAS mutations in blood-derived DNA may be used as a prognostic biomarker for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Droplet digital polymerase chain reaction
  • KRAS
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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