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Detection of residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy in breast cancer using personalized circulating tumor DNA analysis

By Bradon R McDonald, Tania Contente-Cuomo, Stephen-John Sammut, Ahuva Odenheimer-Bergman, Brenda Ernst, Nieves Perdigones, Suet-Feung Chin, Maria Farooq, Patricia A Cronin, Karen S. Anderson, Heidi E Kosiorek, Donald W Northfelt, Ann E McCullough, Bhavika K Patel, Carlos Caldas, Barbara A Pockaj, Muhammed Murtaza

Posted 26 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/425470 (published DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax7392)

Accurate detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) can guide individualized management of early stage cancer patients, but current diagnostic approaches lack adequate sensitivity. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis has shown promise for recurrence monitoring but MRD detection immediately after neoadjuvant therapy or surgical resection has remained challenging. We have developed TARgeted DIgital Sequencing (TARDIS) to simultaneously analyze multiple patient-specific cancer mutations in plasma and improve sensitivity for minute quantities of residual tumor DNA. In 77 reference samples at 0.03%-1% mutant allele fraction (AF), we observed 93.5% sensitivity. Using TARDIS, we analyzed ctDNA in 34 samples from 13 patients with stage II/III breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant therapy. Prior to treatment, we detected ctDNA in 12/12 patients at 0.002%-1.04% AF (0.040% median). After completion of neoadjuvant therapy, we detected ctDNA in 7/8 patients with residual disease observed at surgery and in 1/5 patients with pathological complete response (odds ratio, 18.5, Fishers exact p=0.032). These results demonstrate high accuracy for a personalized blood test to detect residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy. With additional clinical validation, TARDIS could identify patients with molecular complete response after neoadjuvant therapy who may be candidates for nonoperative management.

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