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Is There a Link Between RAS Mutations and Patient Age in Colorectal Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

According to research published in Nature Communications, colorectal cancer in younger patients may be distinct from colorectal cancer in older patients. Different oncogenic mutations were found to occur more frequently in certain age groups. Specifically, a greater incidence of the RAS mutation G12 was noted in patients younger than age 40, whereas there was a more frequent incidence in the RAS mutation Q61 in older patients.

“The more information like this that we have, that shows that [colorectal cancer] is a different disease in specific patient subgroups, the easier it will be for us to delve into each patient population and try to develop a better treatment paradigm for them,” noted Joshua E. Meyer, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, in a press release.

The study included 13,336 samples from patients with colorectal cancer. The samples were analyzed to determine the frequency of RAS mutations, including KRAS and NRAS, based on patient age at diagnosis, microsatellite instability (MSI) status, and tissue subsite. In patients without elevated MSI, instances of KRAS mutations were more common as age increased, although NRAS mutations did not appear to have a significant association with age.

In addition, the Q61 mutation was found to be twice as common in patients aged 40 and older than in patients younger than age 40, with some variations of this mutation occurring solely in the older population. However, the G12 mutation was found to occur more often in patients younger than age 40.

The investigators considered the age-related differences identified in their study “intriguing. “This study and linked data set should serve as a useful benchmark for future investigations,” they added.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at nature.com.



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