The NETest liquid biopsy is diagnostic for gastric neuroendocrine tumors: observations on the blood-based identification of microscopic and macroscopic residual diseaseOK

BMC Gastroenterol. 2020 Jul 23;20(1):235. doi: 10.1186/s12876-020-01348-2.

Abstract

Background: NETest, a novel multi-gene liquid biopsy has utility in neuroendocrine tumor (NET) diagnosis and identification of residual disease. We independently assessed utility of the NETest to diagnose gastric neuroendocrine neoplasms (GNENs) and identify micro- and macroscopic residual disease.

Methods: Cohorts comprised histologically confirmed GNENs at biopsy, n = 46; GNETs Type 1: 42 (32 NET G1, 10 NET G2), a GNET Type 3: 1 well-differentiated NET G3, neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) (n = 3), and controls (n = 63). Disease status at sampling was assessed by gastroscopy, histology (resection margin [R] positivity of polypectomy or biopsy), EUS, CT or MRI, and/or 68Ga-DOTA-TATE PET/CT. Groups included image- (gastroscopy, EUS, and anatomical and/or functional imaging) positive or image negative disease. NETest assay by PCR (spotted plates, normal cut-off: 20).

Data: mean ± SD.

Results: Disease extent: Image-negative (n = 30) (21 R0, 9 R1); Image-positive, n = 16.

Diagnosis: NETest was increased in GNETs (23 ± 11) vs. controls (7 ± 4, p < 0.0001). In histology-positive, the NETest accuracy was 100% (25/25). Microscopic disease: In image-negative but R1, NETest was elevated in 100% (9/9; 28 ± 9). Levels were elevated vs. controls (7 ± 4, p < 0.0001), or R0 (16 ± 11, p = 0.02). Eight of 21 R0, exhibited positive NETest. Macroscopic disease: Gastric lesions were multiple: 38%, single: 62%, submucosal: 13%, or ulcerated: 13%. Lesions size was ≤5 mm (50%), > 5-9.9 mm (17%), 10-19.9 mm (17%), ≥20 mm (17%) [≥10 mm: 34%). The NETest accuracy was 100% (16/16). Levels (28 ± 7) were higher than controls (7 ± 4, p < 0.0001) or R0 (16 ± 11, p = 0.002) but not to R1 (28 ± 9, p = 0.5).

Conclusions: NETest is diagnostic for gastric NETs. Elevated levels identify both microscopic and macroscopic residual disease. In histology/image-negative disease, elevated NETest may reflect early evidence of increased neuroendocrine gene expression of hypergastrinemia-induced neoplastic transformation of enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells to tumor status. A sensitive liquid biopsy has utility in the management and surveillance of gastric NET disease.

Keywords: Biomarker; ECL cell; Gastric; Gastrin; Gastroscopy; Liquid biopsy; NET; NETest; Neuroendocrine tumor; Proliferome.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms*
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography

Substances

  • Biomarkers, Tumor