A Pan-Canadian Validation Study for the Detection of EGFR T790M Mutation Using Circulating Tumor DNA From Peripheral Blood
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INTRODUCTION: Genotyping circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a promising noninvasive clinical tool to identify the EGFR T790M resistance mutation in patients with advanced NSCLC with resistance to EGFR inhibitors. To facilitate standardization and clinical adoption of ctDNA testing across Canada, we developed a 2-phase multicenter study to standardize T790M mutation detection using plasma ctDNA testing. METHODS: In phase 1, commercial reference standards were distributed to participating clinical laboratories, to use their existing platforms for mutation detection. Baseline performance characteristics were established using known and blinded engineered plasma samples spiked with predetermined concentrations of T790M, L858R, and exon 19 deletion variants. In phase II, peripheral blood collected from local patients with known EGFR activating mutations and progressing on treatment were assayed for the presence of EGFR variants and concordance with a clinically validated test at the reference laboratory. RESULTS: All laboratories in phase 1 detected the variants at 0.5 % and 5.0 % allele frequencies, with no false positives. In phase 2, the concordance with the reference laboratory for detection of both the primary and resistance mutation was high, with next-generation sequencing and droplet digital polymerase chain reaction exhibiting the best overall concordance. Data also suggested that the ability to detect mutations at clinically relevant limits of detection is generally not platform-specific, but rather impacted by laboratory-specific practices. CONCLUSIONS: Discrepancies among sending laboratories using the same assay suggest that laboratory-specific practices may impact performance. In addition, a negative or inconclusive ctDNA test should be followed by tumor testing when possible.