2021 AACR: Pan-cancer shedding patterns of tumor circulating cell-free DNA

Tumor circulating cell-free DNA (ctDNA) comprises DNA molecules cast from tumors that reach and circulate in a patient’s bloodstream. Given its non-invasive nature, the liquid biopsy of ctDNA has remarkable potential for diagnosis, prognosis, disease progression tracking, and treatment monitoring. Nonetheless, little is known about which tumor features yield a higher representation of ctDNA in blood or even which regions in the tumor genome are more inclined to shed and thus be observed as ctDNA.

Typically, studies of ctDNA have focused on a limited and well-established set of genes and recurrent variants. However, these limited gene panels may not capture the breadth of genetic alterations that reflect tumor biology. Their limited footprint hinders a comprehensive understanding of tumor heterogeneity, resistance mechanisms, and DNA shedding patterns. To address these limitations, we developed a whole-exome scale cfDNA platform, NeXT Liquid Biopsy™, that enables sensitive detection and tracking of mutations in over twenty thousand genes from plasma samples.