Use of plasma DNA to detect mutations has spread widely as a form of liquid biopsy. EGFR T790M has been observed in half of lung cancer patients who have acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKI). Effectiveness of monitoring T790M via plasma DNA during treatment with EGFR-TKI has not been established as an alternative to re-biopsy. This was a prospective multicenter observational study involving non-small cell lung cancer patients carrying EGFR L858R or exon 19 deletions, treated with EGFR-TKI. The primary objective was to determine whether T790M could be detected using plasma DNA in patients with progressive disease (PD). T790M was examined using the mutation-biased PCR and quenching probe (MBP-QP) method, a sensitive, fully-automated system developed in our laboratory. Eighty-nine non-small cell lung cancer patients were enrolled from seven hospitals in Japan. Sequential examinations revealed T790M in plasma DNA among 40% of patients who developed PD. Activating mutations, such as L858R and exon 19 deletions, were detected in 40% of patients using plasma DNA, and either T790M or activating mutations were observed in 62%. Dividing into four periods (before PD, at PD, at discontinuation of EGFR-TKI and subsequently), T790M was detected in 10, 19, 24 and 27% of patients, respectively. Smokers, males, patients having exon 19 deletions and patients who developed new lesions evidenced significantly frequent presence of T790M in plasma DNA. Monitoring T790M with plasma DNA using MBP-QP reflects the clinical course of lung cancer patients treated with EGFR-TKI. Detection of T790M with plasma DNA was correlated with EGFR mutation type, exon 19 deletions and tumor progression. Re-biopsy could be performed only in 14% of PD cases, suggesting difficulty in obtaining re-biopsy specimens in practice. Monitoring T790M with plasma DNA reflects the clinical course, and is potentially useful in designing strategies for subsequent treatment.
Keywords: DNA; erbB-1; lung neoplasms; molecular targeted therapy; mutation.
© 2015 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.