Purpose: Noninvasive drug biomarkers for the early assessment of tumor response can enable adaptive therapeutic decision-making and proof-of-concept studies for investigational drugs. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is released into the circulation by tumor cell turnover and has been shown to be detectable in urine.Experimental Design: We tested the hypothesis that dynamic changes in EGFR activating (exon 19del and L858R) and resistance (T790M) mutation levels detected in urine could inform tumor response within days of therapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving osimertinib, a second-line third-generation anti-EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor.Results: Eight of nine evaluable NSCLC patients had detectable T790M-mutant DNA fragments in pretreatment baseline samples. Daily monitoring of mutations in urine indicated a pattern of intermittent spikes throughout week 1, suggesting apoptosis with an overall decrease in fragment numbers from baselines to day 7 preceding radiographic response assessed at 6 to 12 weeks.Conclusions: These findings suggest drug-induced tumor apoptosis within days of initial dosing. Daily sampling of ctDNA may enable early assessment of patient response and proof-of-concept studies for drug development. The modeling of tumor lysis through the day-to-day kinetics of ctDNA released into the blood and then into the urine is demonstrated in this proof-of-concept study in lung cancer patients receiving anti-EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This strategy may determine the specific clonal populations of cells which undergo apoptosis within the first week of therapy. This has important implications for developing combinational strategies to address inter- and intralesional heterogeneity and characterizing residual disease after initial drug exposure. Clin Cancer Res; 23(16); 4716-23. ©2017 AACR.
©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.