Recent improvements in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology have enabled detection of biomarkers in cell-free DNA in blood and may ultimately replace invasive tissue biopsies. However, a better understanding of the performance of blood-based NGS assays is needed prior to routine clinical use. As part of an IRBapproved molecular profiling registry trial of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) patients, we facilitated blood-based NGS testing of 34 patients from multiple community-based and high-volume academic oncology practices. 23 of these patients also underwent traditional tumor tissue-based NGS testing. cfDNA was not detected in 9/34 (26%) patients. Overall concordance between blood and tumor tissue NGS assays was low, with only 25% sensitivity of blood-based NGS for tumor tissue NGS. Mutations in KRAS, the major PDA oncogene, were only detected in 10/34 (29%) blood samples, compared to 20/23 (87%) tumor tissue biopsies. The presence of mutations in circulating DNA was associated with reduced overall survival (54% in mutation-positive versus 90% in mutation-negative). Our results suggest that in the setting of previously treated, advanced PDA, liquid biopsies are not yet an adequate substitute for tissue biopsies. Further refinement in defining the optimal patient population and timing of blood sampling may improve the value of a blood-based test.
- Blood-based NGS
- Pancreatic cancer