The aims of this study were to assess the prevalence and type of activating point mutations at codons 12, 13, and 61 of the Ki-, Ha-, and N-ras genes in a series of early gastric carcinomas in white patients and to correlate these ras gene mutations, if any, with the histological type (Lauren classification), the type of growth pattern, and with the Helicobacter pylori status. Haematoxylin and eosin and Giemsa stained sections from 45 formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded early gastric carcinomas were used to assess the Lauren type, the type of growth pattern, and the antral H pylori status. DNA was extracted according to standard procedures. Mutations at codon 12 of the Ki-ras gene were examined with a polymerase chain reaction based restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method and dot blot hybridisation with allele-specific 32P-labelled oligodeoxynucleotide (ASO) probes. All other ras genes were analysed with specific PCR amplification and dot blot hybridisation with ASO probes. Mutations were detected by overnight autoradiography at -70 degrees C. Some 20 intestinal-type and 25 diffuse-type early gastric carcinomas were seen. According to growth pattern, there were 24 small mucosal type early gastric carcinomas, five superficial spreading type early gastric carcinomas, and 16 penetrating type early gastric carcinomas (four penetrating A type, 12 penetrating B type). H pylori was found in the antral mucosa of 28 early gastric carcinomas (62%). Activating ras gene mutations were not found. It was discovered that activating point mutations at codons 12, 13, and 61 of the Ki-, Ha-, and N-ras genes do not play a part in the development of early gastric carcinomas in white subjects, irrespective of Lauren type. Moreover, differences in biological behaviour between early carcinomas with different types of growth pattern are not related to these ras gene mutations. Finally, H pylori positive and H pylori negative gastric carcinomas cannot be discriminated on the basis of ras gene mutational analysis.
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