Assessing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a promising method to evaluate somatic mutations from solid tumors in a minimally-invasive way. In a group of twelve metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients undergoing liver metastasectomy, from each patient DNA from cell-free DNA (cfDNA), the primary tumor, metastatic liver tissue, normal tumor-adjacent colon or liver tissue, and whole blood were obtained. Investigated was the feasibility of a targeted NGS approach to identify somatic mutations in ctDNA. This targeted NGS approach was also compared with NGS preceded by mutant allele enrichment using synchronous coefficient of drag alteration technology embodied in the OnTarget assay, and for selected mutations with digital PCR (dPCR). All tissue and cfDNA samples underwent IonPGM sequencing for a CRC-specific 21-gene panel, which was analyzed using a standard and a modified calling pipeline. In addition, cfDNA, whole blood and normal tissue DNA were analyzed with the OnTarget assay and with dPCR for specific mutations in cfDNA as detected in the corresponding primary and/or metastatic tumor tissue. NGS with modified calling was superior to standard calling and detected ctDNA in the cfDNA of 10 patients harboring mutations in APC, ATM, CREBBP, FBXW7, KRAS, KMT2D, PIK3CA and TP53. Using this approach, variant allele frequencies in plasma ranged predominantly from 1 to 10%, resulting in limited concordance between ctDNA and the primary tumor (39%) and the metastases (55%). Concordance between ctDNA and tissue markedly improved when ctDNA was evaluated for KRAS, PIK3CA and TP53 mutations by the OnTarget assay (80%) and digital PCR (93%). Additionally, using these techniques mutations were observed in tumor-adjacent tissue with normal morphology in the majority of patients, which were not observed in whole blood. In conclusion, in these mCRC patients with oligometastatic disease NGS on cfDNA was feasible, but had limited sensitivity to detect all somatic mutations present in tissue. Digital PCR and mutant allele enrichment before NGS appeared to be more sensitive to detect somatic mutations.

, , , ,,
Molecular Oncology
Department of Medical Oncology

Beije, N., Helmijr, J., Weerts, M., Beaufort, C. M., Wiggin, M. (Matthew), Marziali, A. (Andre), … Martens, J. (2016). Somatic mutation detection using various targeted detection assays in paired samples of circulating tumor DNA, primary tumor and metastases from patients undergoing resection of colorectal liver metastases. Molecular Oncology, 10(10). doi:10.1016/j.molonc.2016.10.001