Concordance of DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Paired Primary Prostate Cancer Samples and Metastatic Tissue or Cell-Free DNA

JAMA Oncol. 2021 Jun 4;7(9):1-5. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.2350. Online ahead of print.


Importance: DNA damage repair (DDR) gene mutations represent actionable alterations that can guide precision medicine strategies for advanced prostate cancer. However, acquisition of contemporary tissue samples for molecular testing can be a barrier to deploying precision medicine approaches. We hypothesized that most DDR alterations represent truncal events in prostate cancer and that primary tissue would faithfully reflect mutations found in cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and/or metastatic tissue.

Objective: To assess concordance in DDR gene alterations between primary prostate cancer and metastases or ctDNA specimens.

Design, setting, and participants: Patients were included if a DDR pathway mutation was detected in metastatic tissue or ctDNA and primary tissue sequencing was available for comparison. Sequencing data from 3 cohorts were analyzed: (1) FoundationOne, (2) University of Washington clinical cases (University of Washington-OncoPlex or Stand Up to Cancer-Prostate Cancer Foundation International Dream Team sequencing pipelines), and (3) University of Washington rapid autopsy series. Only pathogenic somatic mutations were included, and more than 30 days between primary tumor tissue and ctDNA and/or metastatic tissue acquisition was required. Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) and germline events were adjudicated by an expert molecular pathologist and excluded.

Main outcomes and measures: The DDR gene alterations detected in primary prostate tissue matched with metastatic tissue and/or ctDNA findings.

Results: A total of 72 men with known DDR alterations were included in the analysis, and primary samples with paired ctDNA and/or metastatic tissue were sequenced. After excluding patients with ctDNA where only CHIP and/or germline events (n = 21) were observed, 51 patients remained and were included in the final analysis. The median (range) time from acquisition of primary tissue to acquisition of ctDNA or tumor tissue was 55 (5-193) months. Concordance in DDR gene mutation status across samples was 84% (95% CI, 71%-92%). Rates of concordance between metastatic-primary and ctDNA-primary pairs were similar when patients with CHIP events were excluded. Multiclonal BRCA2 reversion mutations associated with resistance to PARP inhibitors and platinum chemotherapy were detected in ctDNA from 2 patients.

Conclusions and relevance: In this genetic association study of 3 patient cohorts, primary prostate tissue accurately reflected the mutational status of actionable DDR genes in metastatic tissue, consistent with DDR alterations being truncal in most patients. After excluding likely CHIP events, ctDNA profiling accurately captured these DDR mutations while also detecting reversion alterations that may suggest resistance mechanisms.