Data_Sheet_1_Cell-Free DNA From Metastatic Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor Patients Contains Tumor-Specific Mutations and Copy Number Variations.pdf
Background: Detection of tumor-specific alterations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has proven valuable as a liquid biopsy for several types of cancer. So far, use of cfDNA remains unexplored for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) patients.
Methods: From 10 PNET patients, fresh frozen tumor tissue, buffy coat and plasma samples were collected. Whole-exome sequencing of primary tumor and germline DNA was performed to identify tumor-specific variants and copy number variations (CNVs). Subsequently, tumor-specific variants were quantified in plasma cfDNA with droplet digital PCR. In addition, CNV analysis of cfDNA was performed using shallow whole-genome sequencing.
Results: Tumor-specific variants were detected in perioperative plasma samples of two PNET patients, at variant allele fractions (VAFs) of respectively 19 and 21%. Both patients had metastatic disease at time of surgery, while the other patients presented with localized disease. In the metastatic patients, CNV profiles of tumor tissue and cfDNA were significantly correlated. A follow-up plasma sample of a metastatic patient demonstrated an increased VAF (57%) and an increased chromosomal instability, in parallel with an increase in tumor burden.
Conclusions: We are the first to report the presence of tumor-specific genetic alterations in cfDNA of metastatic PNET patients and their evolution during disease progression. Additionally, CNV analysis in cfDNA shows potential as a liquid biopsy.
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