Efficacy of liquid biopsy for disease monitoring and early prediction of tumor progression in EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer

Hsiang Ling Ho, Yuqiu Jiang, Chi Lu Chiang, Sylwia Karwowska, Ranga Yerram, Keerti Sharma, Sidney Scudder, Chao Hua Chiu, Chun Ming Tsai, John F. Palma, Abha Sharma, Teh Ying Chou

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6 Citations (Scopus)


15–40% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harbor epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-sensitizing mutations. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) provide significant clinical benefit in this population, yet all patients will ultimately progress. Liquid biopsy can reliably identify somatic tumor-associated EGFR mutations in plasma. This study aimed to assess the feasibility and value of the quantitative assessment of EGFR driver mutations in plasma in EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs as a tool to evaluate therapeutic response to TKIs and monitor for disease progression. The study included 136 patients with tissue biopsy-confirmed EGFR-sensitizing, mutation-positive lung adenocarcinoma with plasma collected prior to TKI treatment and at least two post-initiation TKI treatment/follow-up blood samples. Plasma samples were tested with the cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 (cobas EGFR Test), and semi-quantitative index (SQI) values for each identified mutation were reported by the assay software. The most common baseline EGFR mutations detected in tissue were L858R (53.7%) and exon 19 deletion (39.7%). Plasma cell-free DNA analysis detected EGFR mutations in 74% of the baseline samples. Objective response rate by RECIST 1.1 was achieved in 72% of patients, while 93% had a molecular response (defined as disappearance of the EGFR mutation from plasma). 83% of patients had molecular progression (MP; 1.5X SQI increase or new T790M mutation), and 82% who had a clinical response had clinical progression. On average, MP occurred 42 days prior to clinical progression. Patients who progressed while on first-line TKI showed MP of the original EGFR-sensitizing mutations prior to the emergence of a T790M mutation, which was detected in 27% of the EGFR plasma-positive patients. Longitudinal monitoring of EGFR mutational load in plasma is feasible and can predict both response and clinical progression in EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients treated with EGFR-TKIs, as well as detect treatment-emergent EGFR mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0267362
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4 April
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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