Monitoring EGFR T790M With Plasma DNA From Lung Cancer Patients in a Prospective Observational Study

Cancer Sci. 2016 Feb;107(2):162-7. doi: 10.1111/cas.12847. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • DNA / blood
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors

Associated data

  • JPRN/UMIN000005131