Research Article

Mutations in codons 12 and 13 of K-ras exon 2 in colorectal tumors of Saudi Arabian patients: frequency, clincopathological associations, and clinical outcomes.


Mutations in codons 12/13 of K-ras exon 2 are associated with reduced benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Here, we evaluated the frequency of K-ras mutations and their relationship with clinicopathological features and treatment outcomes in Saudi Arabian patients with CRC. The genetic status of K-ras was determined in 300 patients diagnosed with CRC. Clinical information was collected retrospectively. K-ras was wild-type in 58% and mutated in 42% of the tumors. Most mutations were at codon 12 (89%) and were associated with metastasis [odds ratio (OR) = 1.38 (95%CI = 1.14-1.67] and occurrence of >40 µg/L carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) [OR = 1.33 (1.1-1.74)] during diagnosis. Patients in stages I-III of the disease with wild-type K-ras tumors had a median relapse free survival (RFS) of 29 months in contrast to 22 months for those with the mutated K-ras tumor (P = 0.0357). In multivariate analysis, only the stage of the disease significantly predicted RFS (P = 0.001). Patients in stage IV of CRC with the wild-type K-ras tumor did not reach the median overall survival (OS), whereas patients with the mutated K-ras tumor survived for 23.5 months (P = 0.044). CEA level >40 µg/L (P = 0.004) and status of K-ras (P = 0.044) were independent predictors of OS. This is the largest study investigating K-ras mutations in patients with CRC in the Middle East. Mutations were associated with advanced stage of CRC, higher serum CEA, shorter RFS and OS.