In PCR assays designed to detect rare somatic mutations, SuperSelective primers, by virtue of their short 3'-foot sequences, selectively initiate synthesis on mutant DNA target fragments, while suppressing the synthesis of related wild-type fragments, and the resulting threshold cycle reflects the quantity of mutant targets present. However, when there are ≤10 mutant target fragments in a sample, the threshold cycle that is observed occurs so late that it can be confused with the threshold cycle that arises from samples that contain only abundant related wild-type fragments. We report here that the inclusion of the selectivity enhancing agents tetramethylammonium chloride or bis-tetramethylammonium oxalate in SuperSelective PCR assays substantially suppresses the amplification of related wild-type fragments. As a result of this selective suppression, assay sensitivity is increased to such an extent that multiplex PCR assays can be performed in which it is highly unlikely that there will be a false-positive or false-negative result. This advance provides a foundation for the development of rapid, low-cost, multiplex PCR assays for noninvasively assessing the presence of relevant mutations in cancer patients, thereby enabling individually appropriate therapy.
Copyright © 2018 American Society for Investigative Pathology and the Association for Molecular Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.