Precision cancer monitoring using a novel, fully integrated, microfluidic array partitioning digital PCR platform

Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 20;9(1):19606. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55872-7.


A novel digital PCR (dPCR) platform combining off-the-shelf reagents, a micro-molded plastic microfluidic consumable with a fully integrated single dPCR instrument was developed to address the needs for routine clinical diagnostics. This new platform offers a simplified workflow that enables: rapid time-to-answer; low potential for cross contamination; minimal sample waste; all within a single integrated instrument. Here we showcase the capability of this fully integrated platform to detect and quantify non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) rare genetic mutants (EGFR T790M) with precision cell-free DNA (cfDNA) standards. Next, we validated the platform with an established chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) fusion gene (BCR-ABL1) assay down to 0.01% mutant allele frequency to highlight the platform's utility for precision cancer monitoring. Thirdly, using a juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) patient-specific assay we demonstrate the ability to precisely track an individual cancer patient's response to therapy and show the patient's achievement of complete molecular remission. These three applications highlight the flexibility and utility of this novel fully integrated dPCR platform that has the potential to transform personalized medicine for cancer recurrence monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Cell-Free System
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl / genetics
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Chronic / genetics*
  • Leukemia, Myelomonocytic, Juvenile / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques
  • Microfluidics / methods*
  • Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Prognosis


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Polymers
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Fusion Proteins, bcr-abl