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A Robust Protocol for Using Multiplexed Droplet Digital PCR to Quantify Somatic Copy Number Alterations in Clinical Tissue Specimens.


ABSTRACT: The ability of droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to accurately determine the concentrations of amplifiable targets makes it a promising platform for measuring copy number alterations (CNAs) in genomic biomarkers. However, its application to clinical samples, particularly formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens, will require strategies to reliably determine CNAs in DNA of limited quantity and quality. When applied to cancerous tissue, those methods must also account for global genetic instability and the associated probability that the abundance(s) of one or more chosen reference loci do not represent the average ploidy of cells comprising the specimen. Here we present an experimental design strategy and associated data analysis tool that enables accurate determination of CNAs in a panel of biomarkers using multiplexed ddPCR. The method includes strategies to optimize primer and probes design to cleanly segregate droplets in the data output from reaction wells amplifying multiple independent templates, and to correct for bias from artifacts such as DNA fragmentation. We demonstrate how a panel of reference loci can be used to determine a stable CNA-neutral benchmark. These innovations, when taken together, provide a comprehensive strategy that can be used to reliably detect biomarker CNAs in DNA extracted from either frozen or FFPE tissue biopsies.

SUBMITTER: Hughesman CB 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4990255 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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