Circulating Tumor DNA Mutation Profiling by Targeted Next Generation Sequencing Provides Guidance for Personalized Treatments in Multiple Cancer Types

Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 3;7(1):583. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00520-1.


Cancer is a disease of complex genetic alterations, and comprehensive genetic diagnosis is beneficial to match each patient to appropriate therapy. However, acquisition of representative tumor samples is invasive and sometimes impossible. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is a promising tool to use as a non-invasive biomarker for cancer mutation profiling. Here we implemented targeted next generation sequencing (NGS) with a customized gene panel of 382 cancer-relevant genes on 605 ctDNA samples in multiple cancer types. Overall, tumor-specific mutations were identified in 87% of ctDNA samples, with mutation spectra highly concordant with their matched tumor tissues. 71% of patients had at least one clinically-actionable mutation, 76% of which have suggested drugs approved or in clinical trials. In particular, our study reveals a unique mutation spectrum in Chinese lung cancer patients which could be used to guide treatment decisions and monitor drug-resistant mutations. Taken together, our study demonstrated the feasibility of clinically-useful targeted NGS-based ctDNA mutation profiling to guide treatment decisions in cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Circulating Tumor DNA*
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA, Neoplasm*
  • Genomics / methods
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Precision Medicine
  • Workflow


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Circulating Tumor DNA
  • DNA, Neoplasm