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Clin Chem. 2015 Jan;61(1):297-304. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2014.230235. Epub 2014 Nov 19.

Quantitative cell-free circulating BRAFV600E mutation analysis by use of droplet digital PCR in the follow-up of patients with melanoma being treated with BRAF inhibitors.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Oncology.
2
Department of Biochemistry, and.
3
Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada (CIMA) Lab-Diagnostic, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
4
Department of Pathology, University Clinic of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain;
5
Department of Biochemistry, and agonzaleh@unav.es.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Around 50% of cutaneous melanomas harbor the BRAF(V600E) mutation and can be treated with BRAF inhibitors. DNA carrying this mutation can be released into circulation as cell-free BRAF(V600E) (cfBRAF(V600E)). Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is an analytically sensitive technique for quantifying small concentrations of DNA. We studied the plasma concentrations of cfBRAF(V600E) by ddPCR in patients with melanoma during therapy with BRAF inhibitors.

METHODS:

Plasma concentrations of cfBRAF(V600E) were measured in 8 controls and 20 patients with advanced melanoma having the BRAF(V600E) mutation during treatment with BRAF inhibitors at baseline, first month, best response, and progression.

RESULTS:

The BRAF(V600E) mutation was detected by ddPCR even at a fractional abundance of 0.005% in the wild-type gene. Agreement between tumor tissue BRAF(V600E) and plasma cfBRAF(V600E) was 84.3%. Baseline cfBRAF(V600E) correlated with tumor burden (r = 0.742, P < 0.001). cfBRAF(V600E) concentrations decreased significantly at the first month of therapy (basal median, 216 copies/mL; Q1-Q3, 27-647 copies/mL; first response median, 0 copies/mL; Q1-Q3, 0-49 copies/mL; P < 0.01) and at the moment of best response (median, 0 copies/mL; Q1-Q3, 0-33 copies/mL; P < 0.01). At progression, there was a significant increase in the concentration of cfBRAF(V600E) compared with best response (median, 115 copies/mL; Q1-Q3, 3-707 copies/mL; P = 0.013). Lower concentrations of basal cfBRAF(V600E) were significantly associated with longer overall survival and progression-free survival (27.7 months and 9 months, respectively) than higher basal concentrations (8.6 months and 3 months, P < 0.001 and P = 0.024, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

cfBRAF(V600E) quantification in plasma by ddPCR is useful as a follow-up to treatment response in patients with advanced melanoma.

PMID:
25411185
DOI:
10.1373/clinchem.2014.230235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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