A DNA methylation-based liquid biopsy for triple-negative breast cancer
AbstractHere, we present a next-generation sequencing (NGS) methylation-based blood test called methylation DETEction of Circulating Tumour DNA (mDETECT) designed for the optimal detection and monitoring of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Based on a highly multiplexed targeted sequencing approach, this assay incorporates features that offer superior performance and included 53 amplicons from 47 regions. Analysis of a previously characterised cohort of women with metastatic TNBC with limited quantities of plasma (<2 ml) produced an AUC of 0.92 for detection of a tumour with a sensitivity of 76% for a specificity of 100%. mDETECTTNBC was quantitative and showed superior performance to an NGS TP53 mutation-based test carried out on the same patients and to the conventional CA15-3 biomarker. mDETECT also functioned well in serum samples from metastatic TNBC patients where it produced an AUC of 0.97 for detection of a tumour with a sensitivity of 93% for a specificity of 100%. An assay for BRCA1 promoter methylation was also incorporated into the mDETECT assay and functioned well but its clinical significance is currently unclear. Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential was investigated as a source of background in control subjects but was not seen to be significant, though a link to adiposity may be relevant. The mDETECTTNBC assay is a liquid biopsy able to quantitatively detect all TNBC cancers and has the potential to improve the management of patients with this disease.