Yu RTD and Garcia RL. Sci Rep 2020.
Recent data show a global increase in colorectal cancer (CRC) cases among younger demographics, which portends poorer prognosis. The cause of rising incidence is uncertain, and its mutational landscape remains largely unexplored, including those in genes of the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway. Among these are NRAS mutants where there is paucity of functional studies compared to KRAS. Here, the novel NRAS mutant E132K, identified in three tumor samples from Filipino young-onset, sporadic
colorectal cancer patients, was investigated for its effects on different cancer hallmarks, alongside the NRAS canonical mutants G12D and Q61K which are yet poorly characterized in the context of CRC. The novel NRAS mutant E132K and the canonical G12D and Q61K mutants show resistance to apoptosis, cytoskeletal reorganization, and loss of adhesion. In contrast to activating KRAS mutations, including the analogous KRAS G12D and Q61K mutations, all three NRAS mutants have no apparent effect on cell proliferation and motility. The results highlight the need to characterize isoform- and mutation-specific oncogenic phenotypes which can have repercussions in disease management and choice of therapeutic intervention. Further analyses of young-onset versus late-onset CRC datasets are necessary to qualify NRAS E132K as a biomarker for the young-onset subtype.