Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog, also known as KRAS, is a gene mutation often seen in lung cancer. KRAS is a gene that makes proteins involved in cell signaling pathways that facilitate the growth and maturation of cells. Testing positive for KRAS mutated cancer typically results in the cancer cells growing and spreading at an increased rate. This will result in a poor prognosis for most patients. However, the positive result will help a patient’s care team plan their treatment. The most common cancer type with the KRAS mutation is lung cancer, occurring in nearly 25 percent of all cases.
KRAS gene mutations also occur in the following cancer types:
- Non-small cell lung cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
Testing For KRAS Gene Mutations
When testing for a KRAS gene mutation in lung cancer, patients are usually tested for multiple gene mutations at once, not just for the KRAS gene. Tests are conducted by taking a sample of the tumor through a biopsy. The sample is sent to a lab and analyzed through a microscope to determine which proteins/cells there are an abundance of. The more KRAS proteins present, the more likely there is a mutation driving the growth of the tumor.
KRAS is somatic, meaning that it develops over the course of the patient’s lifetime. Some mutations can be inherited, however, the KRAS gene mutation is not. Massive Bio recommends cancer patients to get some form of genetic testing to determine if any gene mutations are present. The results can help doctors have a better understanding of the overall prognosis and treatment options.
Treating Cancer With KRAS Gene Mutations
When a patient tests positive for the KRAS mutation, they may be eligible for targeted therapies developed to inhibit the KRAS gene. With this inhibiting treatment, cancerous cells with the mutation will no longer be able to perform vital cell functions and stop growing and reproducing. Targeted therapies are able to locate and target cells with mutations in KRAS. By avoiding normal cells, some patients experience less side effects than standard therapies.
Targeted therapies for KRAS positive cancer are:
- AMG 510/Sotorasib
- BI 1701963
Similar to other gene mutations, clinical trials are an option for patients who test positive for a KRAS mutation. Because there are many cases of KRAS mutated cancer, there is a need for new studies and clinical trials is where they are developed. These trials provide early access to new therapies that are otherwise not available until they are approved after years of evaluation for commercial use. Talk with your doctor to see if clinical trials are an option for you.
Standard treatments used for KRAS positive cancer patients depend on the type of cancer and stage of disease. Typically, these patients will receive chemotherapy or immunotherapy on its own, or in addition to a targeted therapy.