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Background: A major limitation of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for somatic mutation detection has been the low level of ctDNA found in a subset of cancer patients. We investigated whether using a combined isolation of exosomal RNA (exoRNA) and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) could improve blood-based liquid biopsy for EGFR mutation detection in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Patients and methods: Matched pretreatment tumor and plasma were collected from 84 patients enrolled in TIGER-X (NCT01526928), a phase 1/2 study of rociletinib in mutant EGFR NSCLC patients. The combined isolated exoRNA and cfDNA (exoNA) was analyzed blinded for mutations using a targeted next-generation sequencing panel (EXO1000) and compared with existing data from the same samples using analysis of ctDNA by BEAMing. Results: For exoNA, the sensitivity was 98% for detection of activating EGFR mutations and 90% for EGFR T790M. The corresponding sensitivities for ctDNA by BEAMing were 82% for activating mutations and 84% for T790M. In a subgroup of patients with intrathoracic metastatic disease (M0/M1a; n=21), the sensitivity increased from 26% to 74% for activating mutations (P=0.003) and from 19% to 31% for T790M (P=0.5) when using exoNA for detection. Conclusions: Combining exoRNA and ctDNA increased the sensitivity for EGFR mutation detection in plasma, with the largest improvement seen in the subgroup of M0/M1a disease patients known to have low levels of ctDNA and poses challenges for mutation detection on ctDNA alone. Clinical Trials: NCT01526928
Krug, A. K., Enderle, D., Karlovich, C., Priewasser, T., Bentink, S., Spiel, A., … Skog, J. (2018). Improved EGFR mutation detection using combined exosomal RNA and circulating tumor DNA in NSCLC patient plasma. Annals of Oncology, 29(3), 700–706. https://doi.org/10.1093/annonc/mdx765