Analysis of Circulating Tumor DNA to Monitor Metastatic Breast Cancer

and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, VIC, Australia (S.-J.D.).
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 03/2013; 368(13). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1213261
Source: PubMed


The management of metastatic breast cancer requires monitoring of the tumor burden to determine the response to treatment, and improved biomarkers are needed. Biomarkers such as cancer antigen 15-3 (CA 15-3) and circulating tumor cells have been widely studied. However, circulating cell-free DNA carrying tumor-specific alterations (circulating tumor DNA) has not been extensively investigated or compared with other circulating biomarkers in breast cancer.

We compared the radiographic imaging of tumors with the assay of circulating tumor DNA, CA 15-3, and circulating tumor cells in 30 women with metastatic breast cancer who were receiving systemic therapy. We used targeted or whole-genome sequencing to identify somatic genomic alterations and designed personalized assays to quantify circulating tumor DNA in serially collected plasma specimens. CA 15-3 levels and numbers of circulating tumor cells were measured at identical time points.

Circulating tumor DNA was successfully detected in 29 of the 30 women (97%) in whom somatic genomic alterations were identified; CA 15-3 and circulating tumor cells were detected in 21 of 27 women (78%) and 26 of 30 women (87%), respectively. Circulating tumor DNA levels showed a greater dynamic range, and greater correlation with changes in tumor burden, than did CA 15-3 or circulating tumor cells. Among the measures tested, circulating tumor DNA provided the earliest measure of treatment response in 10 of 19 women (53%).

This proof-of-concept analysis showed that circulating tumor DNA is an informative, inherently specific, and highly sensitive biomarker of metastatic breast cancer. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others.).

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    • "Genome sequencing will be integrated into clinical care in many ways. It is already demonstrating clinical utility for the diagnosis and treatment of certain cancers [5,19] and rare diseases [2,3,20-22] and shows promise for use in infectious disease outbreaks [23-25] and fetal diagnosis in prenatal medicine [7,26]. The design of the MedSeq Project models two archetypal scenarios for how WGS could be integrated into clinical care. "
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    ABSTRACT: Whole genome sequencing (WGS) is already being used in certain clinical and research settings, but its impact on patient well-being, health-care utilization, and clinical decision-making remains largely unstudied. It is also unknown how best to communicate sequencing results to physicians and patients to improve health. We describe the design of the MedSeq Project: the first randomized trials of WGS in clinical care.Methods/design: This pair of randomized controlled trials compares WGS to standard of care in two clinical contexts: (a) disease-specific genomic medicine in a cardiomyopathy clinic and (b) general genomic medicine in primary care. We are recruiting 8 to 12 cardiologists, 8 to 12 primary care physicians, and approximately 200 of their patients. Patient participants in both the cardiology and primary care trials are randomly assigned to receive a family history assessment with or without WGS. Our laboratory delivers a genome report to physician participants that balances the needs to enhance understandability of genomic information and to convey its complexity. We provide an educational curriculum for physician participants and offer them a hotline to genetics professionals for guidance in interpreting and managing their patients' genome reports. Using varied data sources, including surveys, semi-structured interviews, and review of clinical data, we measure the attitudes and behaviors of physician and patient participants at multiple time points before and after the disclosure of these results. The impact of emerging sequencing technologies on patient care is unclear. We have designed a process of interpreting WGS results and delivering them to physicians in a way that anticipates how we envision genomic medicine to evolve in the near future. That is, our WGS report provides clinically relevant information while communicating the complexity and uncertainty of WGS results to physicians and, through physicians, to their patients. This project will not only illuminate the impact of integrating genomic medicine into the clinical care of patients but also inform the design of future studies.Trial registration: identifier NCT01736566.
    Trials 03/2014; 15(1):85. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-15-85 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    • "The origins of the " liquid biopsy " have evolved from the first description of circulating free DNA (cfDNA) in human serum [2] to the original demonstration of increased cfDNA in cancer and other diseases [3]. More recently, a number of studies have demonstrated the ability to assess tumor dynamics and disease burden in patients undergoing treatment by following levels of ctDNA [4], as a quantitative marker for metastatic disease monitoring and treatment response [5] and even to monitor the evolution of tumor mutations and acquired resistance to treatment [6] [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Retrospective studies have demonstrated that nearly 50% of patients with ovarian cancer with normal cancer antigen 125 (CA125) levels have persistent disease; however, prospectively distinguishing between patients is currently impossible. Here, we demonstrate that for one patient, with the first reported fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) fusion transcript in ovarian cancer, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a more sensitive and specific biomarker than CA125, and it can also inform on a candidate therapeutic. For a 4-year period, during which the patient underwent primary debulking surgery and chemotherapy, tumor recurrences, and multiple chemotherapeutic regimens, blood samples were longitudinally collected and stored. Whereas postsurgical CA125 levels were elevated only three times for 28 measurements, the FGFR2 fusion ctDNA biomarker was readily detectable by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in all of these same blood samples and in the tumor recurrences. Given the persistence of the FGFR2 fusion, we treated tumor cells derived from this patient and others with the FGFR2 inhibitor BGJ398. Only tumor cells derived from this patient were sensitive to FGFR2 inhibitor treatment. Using the same methodologic approach, we demonstrate in a second patient with a different fusion that PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis can also be used to identify tumor-specific DNA in the circulation. Taken together, we demonstrate that a relatively inexpensive, PCR-based ctDNA surveillance assay can outperform CA125 in identifying occult disease.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 01/2014; 16(1):97-103. DOI:10.1593/neo.131900 · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    • "When a tumor sample is exhausted, a new invasive procedure would be required to analyze the molecular signature of a cancer. Recently, a “liquid biopsy” to analyze circulating tumor DNA is emerging as a potential tool for clinical application [1]. Since imaging is often used to track responsiveness to treatment and assist with clinical treatment decision-making, there is potential to evaluate tumor characteristics on imaging towards non-invasive characterization of the tumor's molecular genotype. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Non-invasive characterization of a tumor's molecular features could enhance treatment management. Quantitative computed tomography (CT) based texture analysis (QTA) has been used to derive tumor heterogeneity information, and the appearance of the tumors has been shown to relate to patient outcome in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancers. In this study, we examined the potential of tumoral QTA to differentiate K-ras mutant from pan-wildtype tumors and its prognostic potential using baseline pre-treatment non-contrast CT imaging in NSCLC. Methods Tumor DNA from patients with early-stage NSCLC was analyzed on the LungCarta Panel. Cases with a K-ras mutation or pan-wildtype for 26 oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes were selected for QTA. QTA was applied to regions of interest in the primary tumor. Non-parametric Mann Whitney test assessed the ability of the QTA, clinical and patient characteristics to differentiate between K-ras mutation from pan-wildtype. A recursive decision tree was developed to determine whether the differentiation of K-ras mutant from pan-wildtype tumors could be improved by sequential application of QTA parameters. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis assessed the ability of these markers to predict survival. Results QTA was applied to 48 cases identified, 27 had a K-ras mutation and 21 cases were pan-wildtype. Positive skewness and lower kurtosis were significantly associated with the presence of a K-ras mutation. A five node decision tree had sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy values (95% CI) of 96.3% (78.1–100), 81.0% (50.5–97.4), and 89.6% (72.9–97.0); respectively. Kurtosis was a significant predictor of OS and DFS, with a lower kurtosis value linked with poorer survival. Conclusions Lower kurtosis and positive skewness are significantly associated with K-ras mutations. A QTA feature such as kurtosis is prognostic for OS and DFS. Non-invasive QTA can differentiate the presence of K-ras mutation from pan-wildtype NSCLC and is associated with patient survival.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(7):e100244. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0100244 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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