Circulating tumour DNA sequence analysis as an alternative to multiple myeloma bone marrow aspirates.

Nat Commun. 2017 May 11;8:15086. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15086.

The requirement for bone-marrow aspirates for genomic profiling of multiple myeloma poses an obstacle to enrolment and retention of patients in clinical trials. We evaluated whether circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) analysis is comparable to molecular profiling of myeloma using bone-marrow tumour cells. We report here a hybrid-capture-based Liquid Biopsy Sequencing (LB-Seq) method used to sequence all protein-coding exons of KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, EGFR and PIK3CA in 64 cfDNA specimens from 53 myeloma patients to >20,000 × median coverage. This method includes a variant filtering algorithm that enables detection of tumour-derived fragments present in cfDNA at allele frequencies as low as 0.25% (median 3.2%, range 0.25-46%). Using LB-Seq analysis of 48 cfDNA specimens with matched bone-marrow data, we detect 49/51 likely somatic mutations, with subclonal hierarchies reflecting tumour profiling (96% concordance), and four additional mutations likely missed by bone-marrow testing (>98% specificity). Overall, LB-Seq is a high fidelity adjunct to genetic profiling of bone-marrow in multiple myeloma.