KRAS and BRAF mutations predict the resistance of colorectal carcinomas to therapy targeted to the epidermal growth factor receptor, but their detection can be challenging because of high testing volume, frequently low tumor content, and the spectrum of rarer mutations in these genes. To address these issues, we evaluated a locked nucleic acid (LNA)-PCR sequencing assay to detect low levels of mutant DNA, and we also evaluated a mass spectrometry genotyping assay (Sequenom, San Diego, CA) that is suitable for broad mutation screening. Clinical cases (n = 308) previously tested for KRAS and BRAF by standard sequencing were retested by LNA-PCR sequencing incorporating an LNA oligonucleotide to suppress amplification of nonmutant DNA, and by a Sequenom assay panel targeting common mutations in both genes. Standard sequencing detected 121 KRAS (39%) and 10 BRAF mutations; retesting with the LNA-based method and the Sequenom assay detected 19 (140/308, 45%) and 6 (127/308, 41%) additional KRAS mutants, respectively. One additional BRAF mutant was detected by the Sequenom assay. The analytical sensitivities were 0.3% for both KRAS and BRAF by LNA-PCR and from 1% to 10% for the Sequenom assays, depending on the specific mutation. Given these results, standard sequencing is suboptimal for mutation detection in metastatic and treated lesions even with predissection for tumor enrichment. High-sensitivity LNA-PCR sequencing detects significantly more mutations, whereas the Sequenom platform shows intermediate sensitivity but offers significant advantages for broader mutation screening.
Copyright Â© 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.