Next-generation sequencing of cell-free circulating solid tumor DNA addresses two challenges in contemporary cancer care. First this method of massively parallel and deep sequencing enables assessment of a comprehensive panel of genomic targets from a single sample, and second, it obviates the need for repeat invasive tissue biopsies. Digital Sequencing™ is a novel method for high-quality sequencing of circulating tumor DNA simultaneously across a comprehensive panel of over 50 cancer-related genes with a simple blood test. Here we report the analytic and clinical validation of the gene panel. Analytic sensitivity down to 0.1% mutant allele fraction is demonstrated via serial dilution studies of known samples. Near-perfect analytic specificity (> 99.9999%) enables complete coverage of many genes without the false positives typically seen with traditional sequencing assays at mutant allele frequencies or fractions below 5%. We compared digital sequencing of plasma-derived cell-free DNA to tissue-based sequencing on 165 consecutive matched samples from five outside centers in patients with stage III-IV solid tumor cancers. Clinical sensitivity of plasma-derived NGS was 85.0%, comparable to 80.7% sensitivity for tissue. The assay success rate on 1,000 consecutive samples in clinical practice was 99.8%. Digital sequencing of plasma-derived DNA is indicated in advanced cancer patients to prevent repeated invasive biopsies when the initial biopsy is inadequate, unobtainable for genomic testing, or uninformative, or when the patient's cancer has progressed despite treatment. Its clinical utility is derived from reduction in the costs, complications and delays associated with invasive tissue biopsies for genomic testing.