Background: Since circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) offers clear advantages as a minimally invasive method for tumor monitoring compared with tumor tissue, we aimed to evaluate genotyping ctDNA using a next-generation sequencing- (NGS-) based panel to identify the prognostic value of mutation status in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients with primary tumor resected and with subsequent lines of treatment in this study.
Methods: 76 mCRC patients treated in Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital from 2011 to 2017 were enrolled. Genotyping of RAS/BRAF in tumor tissue and ctDNA was determined by ARMS PCR and with a 40-gene panel using NGS, respectively. Patient clinicopathologic features and RAS/BRAF gene mutation status were evaluated by survival analysis for disease-free survival (DFS) and progression-free survival (PFS).
Results: Among 76 patients, KRAS distributions were not significantly correlated with any clinicopathologic features. The concordance between tumor tissue and ctDNA KRAS mutation was 81.25%. Mutations of RAS/BRAF had no significant impact on DFS after surgery (hazard ratio (HR), 1.205; 95% CI, 0.618 to 2.349; P = 0.5837) but prognosticated poorer PFS in subsequent first-line therapy (HR, 3.351; 95% CI, 1.172 to 9.576; P = 0.024).
Conclusion: ctDNA was comparable with tumor tissue for mutation detection. RAS/BRAF mutations detected in ctDNA predict a worse PFS in mCRC patients with first-line chemotherapy. Our results provide support for the prognostic value of RAS/BRAF ctDNA mutation detection in mCRC patients.