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Genomic Profiling of Blood-Derived Circulating Tumor DNA from Patients with Colorectal Cancer: Implications for Response and Resistance to Targeted Therapeutics.

Abstract

Molecular profiling of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a promising noninvasive tool. Here, next-generation sequencing (NGS) of blood-derived ctDNA was performed in patients with advanced colorectal cancer. We investigated ctDNA-derived genomic alterations, including potential actionability, concordance with tissue NGS, and serial dynamics in 78 patients with colorectal cancer using a clinical-grade NGS assay that detects single nucleotide variants (54-73 genes) and selected copy-number variants, fusions, and indels. Overall, 63 patients [80.8% (63/78)] harbored ctDNA alterations; 59 [75.6% (59/78)], ≥1 characterized alteration (variants of unknown significance excluded). All 59 patients had actionable alterations potentially targetable with FDA-approved drugs [on-label and/or off-label (N = 54) or with experimental drugs in clinical trials (additional five patients); University of California San Diego Molecular Tumor Board assessment]: 45, by OncoKB (http://oncokb.org/#/). The tissue and blood concordance rates for common specific alterations ranged from 62.3% to 86.9% (median = 5 months between tests). In serial samples from patients on anti-EGFR therapy, multiple emerging alterations in genes known to be involved in therapeutic resistance, including KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, EGFR, ERBB2, and MET were detected. In conclusion, over 80% of patients with stage IV colorectal cancer had detectable ctDNA, and the majority had potentially actionable alterations. Concordance between tissue and blood was between 62% and 87%, despite a median of 5 months between tests. Resistance alterations emerged on anti-EGFR therapy. Therefore, biopsy-free, noninvasive ctDNA analysis provides data relevant to the clinical setting. Importantly, sequential ctDNA analysis detects patterns of emerging resistance allowing for precision planning of future therapy.

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