Genome-wide cell-free DNA mutational integration enables ultra-sensitive cancer monitoring

Zviran A, Schulman RC, Shah M, Hill STK, Deochand S, Khamnei CC, Maloney D, Patel K, Liao W, Widman AJ, Wong P, Callahan MK, Ha G, Reed S, Rotem D, Frederick D, Sharova T, Miao B, Kim T, Gydush G, Rhoades J, Huang KY, Omans ND, Bolan PO, Lipsky AH, Ang C, Malbari M, Spinelli CF, Kazancioglu S, Runnels AM, Fennessey S, Stolte C, Gaiti F, Inghirami GG, Adalsteinsson V, Houck-Loomis B, Ishii J, Wolchok JD, Boland G, Robine N, Altorki NK, Landau DA.
Nature Medicine , (2020).


In many areas of oncology, we lack sensitive tools to track low-burden disease. Although cell-free DNA (cfDNA) shows promise in detecting cancer mutations, we found that the combination of low tumor fraction (TF) and limited number of DNA fragments restricts low-disease-burden monitoring through the prevailing deep targeted sequencing paradigm. We reasoned that breadth may supplant depth of sequencing to overcome the barrier of cfDNA abundance. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of cfDNA allowed ultra-sensitive detection, capitalizing on the cumulative signal of thousands of somatic mutations observed in solid malignancies, with TF detection sensitivity as low as 10-5. The WGS approach enabled dynamic tumor burden tracking and postoperative residual disease detection, associated with adverse outcome. Thus, we present an orthogonal framework for cfDNA cancer monitoring via genome-wide mutational integration, enabling ultra-sensitive detection, overcoming the limitation of cfDNA abundance and empowering treatment optimization in low-disease-burden oncology care.