- NRAS is a member of the RAS family oncoproteins implicated in cancer. Gain-of-function NRAS mutations were reported in a subset of colorectal cancers. These mutations occur at codons 12, 13, and 61 and are detected by molecular genetic testing. Recently, an antibody (clone SP174) became available to immunohistochemically pinpoint NRAS Q61R mutant protein. In malignant melanoma, NRAS Q61R mutant-specific immunohistochemistry was shown to be a valuable supplement to traditional genetic testing.
- To evaluate the significance of NRAS Q61R mutant-specific immunohistochemistry in a cohort of colorectal carcinomas.
- A total of 1185 colorectal carcinomas were immunohistochemically evaluated with SP174 antibody. NRAS Q61R mutant-specific immunohistochemistry was validated by molecular genetic testing including Sanger sequencing, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and next-generation sequencing.
- Twelve tumors showed strong SP174 immunoreactivity. Sanger sequencing detected an identical c.182A>G substitution, causing NRAS Q61R mutation at the protein level, only in 8 SP174-positive cases. These results were confirmed by qPCR study. Subsequently, NRAS wild-type tumors with strong SP174 staining were evaluated by next-generation sequencing and revealed KRAS c.182A>G substitutions predicted to cause KRAS Q61R mutation. Review of colorectal carcinomas with known KRAS and NRAS genotype revealed that none of 62 wild-type tumors or 47 mutants other than Q61R were SP174 positive.
- SP174 immunohistochemistry allows sensitive detection of NRAS and KRAS Q61R mutants. However, molecular genetic testing is necessary to determine specifically which RAS gene is mutated.