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Clinicopathological correlates and prognostic significance of KRAS mutation status in a pooled prospective cohort of epithelial ovarian cancer

Björn Nodin1*, Nooreldin Zendehrokh1, Magnus Sundström2 and Karin Jirström1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Pathology, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund 221 85, Sweden

2 Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala 751 85, Sweden

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:106  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-106

Published: 25 June 2013

Abstract

Background

Activating KRAS mutations are common in ovarian carcinomas of low histological grade, less advanced clinical stage and mucinous histological subtype, and form part of the distinct molecular alterations associated with type I tumors in the dualistic model of ovarian carcinogenesis. Here, we investigated the occurrence, clinicopathological correlates and prognostic significance of specific KRAS mutations in tumours from 153 epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cases from a pooled, prospective cohort.

Methods

KRAS codon 12,13 and 61 mutations were analysed by pyrosequencing in tumours from 163 incident EOC cases in the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study and Malmö Preventive Project. Associations of mutational status with clinicopathological and molecular characteristics were assessed by Pearson Chi Square test. Ovarian cancer-specific survival (OCSS) according to mutational status was explored by Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards modelling. KRAS-mutation status was also analysed in 28 concomitantly sampled benign-appearing fallopian tubes.

Results

Seventeen (11.1%) EOC cases harboured mutations in the KRAS gene, all but one in codon 12, and one in codon 13. No KRAS mutations were found in codon 61 and all examined fallopian tubes were KRAS wild-type. KRAS mutation was significantly associated with lower grade (p = 0.001), mucinous histological subtype (p = < 0.001) and progesterone receptor expression (p = 0.035). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a significantly improved OCSS for patients with KRAS-mutated compared to KRAS wild-type tumours (p = 0.015). These associations were confirmed in unadjusted Cox regression analysis (HR = 2.51; 95% CI 1.17-5.42) but did not remain significant after adjustment for age, grade and clinical stage. The beneficial prognostic impact of KRAS mutation was ony evident in tumours of low-intermediate differentiation grade (p = 0.023), and in a less advanced clinical stage (p = 0.014). Moreover, KRAS mutation was associated with a significantly improved OCSS in the subgroup of endometroid carcinomas (p = 0.012).

Conclusions

The results from this study confirm previously demonstrated associations of KRAS mutations with well-differentiated and mucinous ovarian carcinomas. Moreover, KRAS-mutated tumours had a significantly improved survival in unadjusted, but not adjusted, analysis. A finding that merits further study is the significant prognostic impact of KRAS mutation in endometroid carcinomas, potentially indicating that response to Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK-targeting therapies may differ by histological subtype.

Virtual slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1788330379100147 webcite

Keywords:
KRAS mutation; Ovarian cancer; Prognosis