Detection and sequencing of mutations from clinical specimens are often complicated by the presence of an excess of nonmutated cells. To facilitate the detection and sequencing of minority mutations from clinical specimens, we developed wild-type blocking PCR (WTB-PCR). This technique allows sensitive detection of minority mutations in a tissue sample containing excess wild-type DNA. In WTB-PCR, a nonextendable locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotide binds tightly to a region of wild-type DNA known to develop point mutations. This LNA sequence blocks amplification of wild-type DNA during PCR while permitting amplification of mutant exon 15. Our results show that the LNA blocking oligonucleotide inhibits amplification of wild-type DNA in a dose-dependent manner. WTB-PCR was able to detect mutant DNA in clinical samples of melanoma tissue containing an excess of nonmelanoma cells. This method was also able to detect small amounts of point mutated or tandem mutated DNA diluted with a much larger concentration of wild-type DNA. This rapid and simple assay overcomes the limitations of current methods to detect minority mutations. The potential applications of WTB-PCR include early diagnosis and prognosis of various cancers.
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