Tissue-specific cell-free DNA degradation quantifies circulating tumor DNA burden
ABSTRACT: Profiling of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) may offer a non-invasive approach to monitor disease progression. Here, we developed a quantitative method, exploiting local tissue-specific cell-free DNA (cfDNA) degradation patterns, that accurately estimates ctDNA burden independent of genomic aberrations. Nucleosome-dependent cfDNA degradation at promoters and first exon-intron junctions was strongly associated with differential transcriptional activity in tumors and blood. A quantitative model, based on just 6 regulatory regions, could accurately predict ctDNA levels in colorectal cancer patients. Strikingly, a model restricted to blood-specific regulatory regions could predict ctDNA levels across both colorectal and breast cancer patients.
Project description:Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is an emerging candidate biomarker for malignancies and may be useful for monitoring the disease status of gastric cancer.We performed targeted deep sequencing of plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) by massively parallel sequencing in patients with tumours harbouring TP53 mutations. The quantitative values of TP53-ctDNA during the clinical course were compared with the tumour status.Three out of ten patients with TP53 mutations in primary tumours showed detectable TP53 mutation levels in preoperative cfDNA. Although the cfDNA concentrations were not always reflective of the disease course, the ctDNA fraction correlated with the disease status.ctDNA may serve as a useful biomarker to monitor gastric cancer progression and residual disease.
Project description:Liquid biopsy has become widely applied in clinical medicine along with the progress in innovative technologies, such as next generation sequencing, but the origin of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has not yet been precisely established. We reported bimodal peaks of long fragment circulating free DNA (cfDNA) of 5 kb and short fragment cfDNA of 170 bp in patients with advanced lung cancer, and both contained ctDNA. In this paper, we demonstrate that the total amount of cfDNA is higher when patients with lung cancer have extrathoracic metastases, and the amount of long fragment cfDNA is significantly higher in those patients. To investigate the origin of long fragment cfDNA, conditioned media isolated from lung cancer cell lines was fractionated. Long fragment cfDNA was found concomitant with extracellular vesicles (EVs), but short fragment cfDNA was not observed in any fractions. However, in peripheral blood from a metastatic animal model both fragments were detected even with those same lung cancer cell lines. In human plasma samples, long fragment cfDNA was observed in the same fraction as that from conditioned media, and short fragment cfDNA existed in the supernatant after centrifugation at 100,000g. Concentration of ctDNA in the supernatant was two times higher than that in plasma isolated by the conventional procedure. Long fragment cfDNA associated with tumor progression might therefore be released into peripheral blood, and it is possible that the long fragment cfDNA escapes degradation by co-existing with EVs. Examination of the biological characteristics of long fragment cfDNA is a logical subject of further investigation.
Project description:Human blood contains cell-free DNA (cfDNA), with circulating tumor-derived DNAs (ctDNAs) widely used in cancer diagnosis and treatment. However, it is still difficult to efficiently and accurately identify and distinguish specific ctDNAs from normal cfDNA in cancer patient blood samples. In this study, ctDNA fragment length distribution analysis showed that ctDNA fragments are frequently shorter than the normal cfDNAs, which is consistent with previous findings. Interestingly, the ctDNA fragment length was found to be partially associated with the mutant allele frequency, with a low mutant allele frequency (< ~0.6%) associated with a longer ctDNA fragment length when compared to normal cfDNAs. The findings of this study contribute to improving the detection of low-frequency tumor mutations.
Project description:Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Two-thirds of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage that is refractory to curative treatment. Therefore, strategies for the early detection of lung cancer are urgently sought. Total circulating free DNA (cfDNA) and tumour-derived circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) are emerging as important biomarkers within a 'liquid biopsy' for monitoring human disease progression and response to therapy. Owing to the late clinical diagnosis of lung adenocarcinoma, the potential for cfDNA and ctDNA as early detection biomarkers remains unexplored. Here, using a Cre-regulated genetically engineered mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma development, driven by KrasG12D (the KrasLSL-G12D mouse), we serially tracked the release of cfDNA/ctDNA and compared this with tumour burden as determined by micro-computed tomography (CT). To monitor ctDNA, a droplet digital PCR assay was developed to permit discrimination of the KrasLox-G12D allele from the KrasLSL-G12D and KrasWT alleles. We show that micro-CT correlates with endpoint histology and is able to detect pre-malignant tumours with a combined volume larger than 7 mm3 Changes in cfDNA/ctDNA levels correlate with micro-CT measurements in longitudinal sampling and are able to monitor the emergence of lesions before the adenoma-adenocarcinoma transition. Potentially, this work has implications for the early detection of human lung adenocarcinoma using ctDNA/cfDNA profiling.A video abstract for this article is available at https://youtu.be/Ku8xJJyGs3UThis article has an associated First Person interview with the joint first authors of the paper.
Project description:Chemotherapy resistance remains a challenge in the clinical management of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Here, early changes in cell-free circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) levels were explored as a marker of therapeutic efficacy. Twenty-four mCRC patients were enrolled and treated with FOLFIRI based first-line therapy. Blood samples collected pre-treatment, at day 7, 14, 21, 60 and at progression were analysed for cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and ctDNA levels using digital droplet PCR. A subset of samples were additionally analysed by targeted sequencing. Patients with high pre-treatment ctDNA or cfDNA levels (?75th centile) had significantly shorter progression free survival (PFS) than patients with lower levels. Despite an overall decline in ctDNA levels from pre-treatment to first CT-scan, serial analysis identified seven patients with temporary increases in ctDNA consistent with growth of resistant cells. These patients had shorter PFS and shorter overall survival. Targeted sequencing analyses of cfDNA revealed dramatic changes in the clonal composition in response to treatment. Our study suggests that increasing ctDNA levels during the first cycles of first-line FOLFIRI treatment is a predictor of incipient progressive disease and poorer survival. Thus, we demonstrate the importance of monitoring ctDNA levels as early as one week after treatment onset to enable early detection of treatment failure.
Project description:The combined analysis of circulating cell-free (tumor) DNA (cfDNA/ctDNA) and circulating cell-free (tumor) RNA (cfRNA/ctRNA) shows great promise in determining the molecular profile of cancer patients. Optimization of the workflow is necessary to achieve consistent and reproducible results. In this study, we compared five centrifugation protocols for the optimal yield of both cfDNA/ctDNA and cfRNA/ctRNA. These protocols varied in centrifugation speed, ambient temperature, time, and number of centrifugation steps. Samples from 33 participants were collected in either BD Vacutainer K₂EDTA (EDTA) tubes or cell-free DNA BCT® (Streck) tubes. cfDNA concentration and fragment size, and cfRNA concentration were quantitated in all samples by digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The KRAS-mutated ctDNA and ctRNA fraction was determined via ddPCR. In EDTA tubes, the protocol generating both plasma and platelets was found to produce high quality cfDNA and cfRNA concentrations. Two-step, high-speed centrifugation protocols were associated with high cfDNA but low cfRNA concentrations. High cfRNA concentrations were generated by a one-step, low-speed protocol. However, this coincided with a high amount of genomic DNA (gDNA) contamination. In Streck tubes, two-step, high-speed centrifugation protocols also generated good quality, high cfDNA concentration. However, these tubes are not compatible with cfRNA analysis.
Project description:Reliable biomarkers for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have yet to be determined. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is an emerging resource to detect and monitor molecular characteristics of various tumors. The present study aims to clarify the clinical utility of ctDNA for RCC. Fifty-three patients histologically diagnosed with clear cell RCC were enrolled. Targeted sequencing was carried out using plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and tumor DNA. We applied droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to validate detected mutations. cfDNA fragment size was also evaluated using a microfluidics-based platform and sequencing. Proportion of cfDNA fragments was defined as the ratio of small (50-166 bp) to large (167-250 bp) cfDNA fragments. Association of mutant allele frequency of ctDNA with clinical course was analyzed. Prognostic potential was evaluated using log-rank test. A total of 38 mutations across 16 (30%) patients were identified from cfDNA, including mutations in TP53 (n = 6) and VHL (n = 5), and median mutant allele frequency of ctDNA was 10%. We designed specific ddPCR probes for 11 mutations and detected the same mutations in both cfDNA and tumor DNA. Positive ctDNA was significantly associated with a higher proportion of cfDNA fragments (P = .033), indicating RCC patients with ctDNA had shorter fragment sizes of cfDNA. Interestingly, the changes of mutant allele frequency in ctDNA concurrently correlated with clinical course. Positive ctDNA and fragmentation of cfDNA were significantly associated with poor cancer-specific survival (P < .001, P = .011). In conclusion, our study shows the clinical utility of ctDNA status and cfDNA fragment size as biomarkers for prognosis and disease monitoring in RCC.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Liquid biopsy based on cell-free DNA circulating in plasma has shown solid results as a non-invasive biomarker. In the present study we evaluated the utility of circulating free DNA (cfDNA) and the sub-type tumor DNA (ctDNA) in hepatocellular cancer (HCC) patients to assess therapy response and clinical outcome. METHODS:A cohort of 13 patients recruited in the context of the SORAMIC trial with unresectable, advanced HCC and different etiological and clinicopathological characteristics was included in this exploratory study. Plasma samples were collected between liver micro-intervention and beginning of sorafenib-based systemic therapy and then in correspondence of three additional follow-ups. DNA was isolated from plasma and next generation sequencing (NGS) was performed on a panel of 597 selected cancer-relevant genes. RESULTS:cfDNA levels showed a significant correlation with the presence of metastases and survival. In addition cfDNA kinetic over time revealed a trend with the clinical history of the patients, supporting its use as a biomarker to monitor therapy. NGS-based analysis on ctDNA identified 28 variants, detectable in different combinations at the different time points. Among the variants, HNF1A, BAX and CYP2B6 genes showed the highest mutation frequency and a significant association with the patients' clinicopathological characteristics, suggesting a possible role as driver genes in this specific clinical setting. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, the results support the prognostic value of cfDNA/ctDNA in advanced HCC patients with the potential to predict therapy response. These findings support the clinical utility of liquid biopsy in advanced HCC improving individualized therapy and possible earlier identification of treatment responders.
Project description:Following treatment 40% of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) patients suffer disease recurrence. In certain cancers circulating cell free DNA (cfDNA) and circulating tumour-derived DNA (ctDNA) characteristics correlate closely with disease burden, making them exciting potential sources of biomarkers. Despite this, the circulating nucleic acid characteristics of only 2 STS patients have been reported to date. To address this we used an Ion AmpliSeq™ panel custom specifically designed for STS patients to conduct a genetic characterisation of plasma cfDNA, buffy coat (germline) DNA and where available Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) primary STS tissue DNA in a cohort of 11 metastatic STS patients. We found that total cfDNA levels were significantly elevated in the STS patients analysed, and weakly correlated with disease burden. Using our Ion AmpliSeq™ panel we also successfully detected ctDNA in 4/11 (36%) patients analysed with a wide variety of STS subtypes and disease burdens. This evidence included the presence of cancer associated TP53 / PIK3CA mutations in 2 patients' plasma and matched primary STS tumour tissue, and in the plasma alone for 2 patients. We also identified 2 potential examples of allelic loss of heterozygosity in an additional patient's STS DNA and cfDNA. This is the largest study performed characterising STS patient cfDNA/ctDNA and confirms that the field remains an attractive potential source of novel STS biomarkers. Further work is required to investigate the circulating nucleic acid characteristics of individual STS subtypes, and the potential prognostic or therapeutic roles that cfDNA/ctDNA may hold for patients with these complex tumours.
Project description:Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) offers new opportunities for noninvasive cancer management. Detecting ctDNA in plasma is challenging because it constitutes only a minor fraction of the total cell-free DNA (cfDNA). Pre-analytical factors affect cfDNA levels contributed from leukocyte lysis, hence the ability to detect low-frequency mutant alleles. This study investigates the effects of the delay in processing, storage temperatures, different blood collection tubes, centrifugation protocols, and sample shipment on cfDNA levels. Peripheral blood (n = 231) from cancer patients (n = 62) were collected into K3EDTA or Cell-free DNA BCT tubes and analyzed by digital PCR, targeted amplicon, or shallow whole-genome sequencing. To assess pre-analytic effects, plasma was processed under different conditions after 0, 6, 24, 48, 96 hours, and 1 week at room temperature or 4°C, or using different centrifugation protocols. Digital PCR showed that cfDNA levels increased gradually with time in K3EDTA tubes, but were stable in BCT tubes. K3EDTA samples stored at 4°C showed less variation than room temperature storage, but levels were elevated compared with BCT. A second centrifugation at 3000 × g gave similar cfDNA yields compared with higher-speed centrifugation. Next-generation sequencing showed negligible differences in background error or copy number changes between K3EDTA and BCT, or following shipment in BCT. This study provides insights into the effects of sample processing on ctDNA analysis.