KRAS, or Kirsten rat sarcoma virus, is a gene that is involved in regulating cell division and signaling pathways to control cell growth, maturation, and elimination.

KRAS helps send instructions to make a protein, known as K-Ras. This protein is part of the RAS/MAPK pathway, which helps relay signals from outside of a cell and into its nucleus. These signals instruct the cell to proliferate or to mature and differentiate.

KRAS is included in a class called oncogenes. When oncogenes mutate, they have can cause regular cells to become cancerous. Mutated forms of the KRAS gene are found in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), colorectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. These mutations may cause cancer cells to live on and spread throughout the body.

The KRAS gene is in the Ras family of oncogenes. This family includes two other genes:

  • HRAS
  • NRAS

These proteins play an important role in the division, differentiation, and apoptosis (death) of cells. During the treatment planning, it is important to know if a patient has a mutated KRAS gene to help select the correct treatment option.