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Clinical Applications of Minimal Residual Disease Assessments by Tumor-Informed and Tumor-Uninformed Circulating Tumor DNA in Colorectal Cancer


Emerging data suggest that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) can detect colorectal cancer (CRC)-specific signals across both non-metastatic and metastatic settings. With the development of multiple platforms, including tumor-informed and tumor-agnostic ctDNA assays and demonstration of their provocative analytic performance to detect minimal residual disease, there are now ongoing, phase III randomized clinical trials to evaluate their role in the management paradigm of CRC. In this review, we highlight landmark studies that have formed the basis for ongoing studies on the clinically applicability of plasma ctDNA assays in resected, stage I-III CRC and metastatic CRC. We discuss clinical settings by which ctDNA may have the most immediate impact in routine clinical practice. These include the potential for ctDNA to (1) guide surveillance and intensification or de-intensification strategies of adjuvant therapy in resected, stage I-III CRC, (2) predict treatment response to neoadjuvant therapy in locally advanced rectal cancer inclusive of total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT), and (3) predict response to systemic and surgical therapies in metastatic disease. We end by considering clinical variables that can influence our ability to reliably interpret ctDNA dynamics in the clinic.

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