Decoding the evolutionary response to prostate cancer therapy by plasma genome sequencing

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Background: Investigating genome evolution in response to therapy is difficult in human tissue samples. To address this challenge, we develop an unbiased whole-genome plasma DNA sequencing approach that concurrently measures genomic copy number and exome mutations from archival cryostored plasma samples. This approach is applied to study longitudinal blood plasma samples from prostate cancer patients, where longitudinal tissue biopsies from the bone and other metastatic sites have been challenging to collect. Results: A molecular characterization of archival plasma DNA from 233 patients and genomic profiling of 101 patients identifies clinical correlations of aneuploid plasma DNA profiles with poor survival, increased plasma DNA concentrations, and lower plasma DNA size distributions. Deep-exome sequencing and genomic copy number profiling are performed on 23 patients, including 9 patients with matched metastatic tissues and 12 patients with serial plasma samples. These data show a high concordance in genomic alterations between the plasma DNA and metastatic tissue samples, suggesting the plasma DNA is highly representative of the tissue alterations. Longitudinal sequencing of 12 patients with 2-5 serial plasma samples reveals clonal dynamics and genome evolution in response to hormonal and chemotherapy. By performing an integrated evolutionary analysis, minor subclones are identified in 9 patients that expanded in response to therapy and harbored mutations associated with resistance. Conclusions: This study provides an unbiased evolutionary approach to non-invasively delineate clonal dynamics and identify clones with mutations associated with resistance in prostate cancer.




Ramesh, N., Sei, E., Tsai, P. C., Bai, S., Zhao, Y., Troncoso, P., … Navin, N. E. (2020). Decoding the evolutionary response to prostate cancer therapy by plasma genome sequencing. Genome Biology, 21(1).

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