Background: A non-invasive method to predict the malignancy of surgery-candidate solitary pulmonary nodules (SPN) is urgently needed.
Methods: Super-depth next generation sequencing (NGS) of 35 paired tissues and plasma DNA was performed as an attempt to develop an early diagnosis approach.
Results: Only ~6% of malignant nodule patients had driver mutations in the circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) with >10,000-fold sequencing depth, and the concordance of mutation between tDNA and ctDNA was 3.9%. The first innovative whole mutation scored model in this study predicted 33.3% of malignant SPN with 100% specificity.
Conclusions: These results showed that lung cancer gene-targeted deep capture sequencing is not efficient enough to achieve ideal sensitivity by simply increasing the sequencing depth of ctDNA from early candidates. The sequencing could not be evaluated hotspot mutations in the early tumour stage. Nevertheless, a larger cohort is required to optimize this model, and more techniques may be incorporated to benefit the SPN high-risk population.
Keywords: Solid pulmonary nodule; circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA); early diagnosis; lung cancer; tumor mutational burden (TMB).