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Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 1;7(9):9707-17. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.7110.

Detection rate of actionable mutations in diverse cancers using a biopsy-free (blood) circulating tumor cell DNA assay.

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Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Division of Hematology and Oncology, UCSD Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA, USA.
Guardant Health, Inc., Redwood City, CA, USA.


Analysis of cell-free DNA using next-generation sequencing (NGS) is a powerful tool for the detection/monitoring of alterations present in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Plasma extracted from 171 patients with a variety of cancers was analyzed for ctDNA (54 genes and copy number variants (CNVs) in three genes (EGFR, ERBB2 and MET)). The most represented cancers were lung (23%), breast (23%), and glioblastoma (19%). Ninety-nine patients (58%) had at least one detectable alteration. The most frequent alterations were TP53 (29.8%), followed by EGFR (17.5%), MET (10.5%), PIK3CA (7%), and NOTCH1 (5.8%). In contrast, of 222 healthy volunteers, only one had an aberration (TP53). Ninety patients with non-brain tumors had a discernible aberration (65% of 138 patients; in 70% of non-brain tumor patients with an alteration, the anomaly was potentially actionable). Interestingly, nine of 33 patients (27%) with glioblastoma had an alteration (6/33 (18%) potentially actionable). Overall, sixty-nine patients had potentially actionable alterations (40% of total; 69.7% of patients (69/99) with alterations); 68 patients (40% of total; 69% of patients with alterations), by a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug. In summary, 65% of diverse cancers (as well as 27% of glioblastomas) had detectable ctDNA aberration(s), with the majority theoretically actionable by an approved agent.


actionable alteration; cancer; ctDNA; liquid biopsy; personalized therapy

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