Circulating tumor DNA for comprehensive noninvasive monitoring of lymphoma treated with ibrutinib plus nivolumab

Blood Adv. 2021 Nov 23;5(22):4674-4685. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004528.


To advance the use of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) applications, their broad clinical validity must be tested in different treatment settings, including targeted therapies. Using the prespecified longitudinal systematic collection of plasma samples in the phase 1/2a LYM1002 trial (registered on as NCT02329847), we tested the clinical validity of ctDNA for baseline mutation profiling, residual tumor load quantification, and acquisition of resistance mutations in patients with lymphoma treated with ibrutinib+nivolumab. Inclusion criterion for this ancillary biological study was the availability of blood collected at baseline and cycle 3, day 1. Overall, 172 ctDNA samples from 67 patients were analyzed by the LyV4.0 ctDNA Cancer Personalized Profiling Deep Sequencing Assay. Among baseline variants in ctDNA, only TP53 mutations (detected in 25.4% of patients) were associated with shorter progression-free survival; clones harboring baseline TP53 mutations did not disappear during treatment. Molecular response, defined as a >2-log reduction in ctDNA levels after 2 cycles of therapy (28 days), was achieved in 28.6% of patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who had ≥1 baseline variant and was associated with best response and improved progression-free survival. Clonal evolution occurred frequently during treatment, and 10.3% new mutations were identified after 2 treatment cycles in nonresponders. PLCG2 was the topmost among genes that acquired new mutations. No patients acquired the C481S BTK mutation implicated in resistance to ibrutinib in CLL. Collectively, our results provide the proof of concept that ctDNA is useful for noninvasive monitoring of lymphoma treated with targeted agents in the clinical trial setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Large B-Cell, Diffuse*
  • Nivolumab / therapeutic use
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrimidines


  • Circulating Tumor DNA
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • Nivolumab
  • Adenine

Associated data