Application of liquid biopsy-based targeted capture sequencing analysis to improve the precision treatment of non-small cell lung cancer by tyrosine kinase inhibitors

BMJ Open Respir Res. 2022 Jan;9(1):e001154. doi: 10.1136/bmjresp-2021-001154.


Background: Targeted therapy of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who harbour sensitising mutations by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has been found more effective than traditional chemotherapies. However, target genes status (eg, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) TKIs sensitising and resistant mutations) need to be tested for choosing appropriate TKIs. This study is to investigate the performance of a liquid biopsy-based targeted capture sequencing assay on the molecular analysis of NSCLC.

Methods: Plasma samples from patients with NSCLC who showed resistance to the first/second-generation EGFR TKIs treatment were collected. The AVENIO ctDNA Expanded Kit is a 77 pan-cancer genes detection assay that was used for detecting EGFR TKIs resistance-associated gene mutations. Through comparison of the EGFR gene testing results from the Cobas EGFR Mutation Test v2, and UltraSEEK Lung Panel, the effectiveness of the targeted capture sequencing assay was verified.

Results: A total of 24 plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) samples were tested by the targeted capture sequencing assay. 33.3% (8/24) cfDNA samples were positive for EGFR exon 20 p.T790M which leads to EGFR dependent TKIs resistance. 8.3% (2/24) and 4.2% (1/24) samples were positive for mesenchymal-epithelial transition gene amplification and B-Raf proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase exon 15 p.V600E mutations which lead to EGFR independent TKIs resistance. The median value of the p.T790M variant allele fraction and variant copy numbers was 2% and 36.10 copies/mL plasma, respectively. The next-generation sequencing test showed higher than 90% concordance with either MassArray or qPCR-based methods for detecting either EGFR TKIs sensitising or resistance mutations.

Conclusion: The targeted capture sequencing test can support comprehensive molecular analysis needed for TKIs treatment, which is promising to be clinically applied for the improved precision treatment of NSCLC.

Keywords: drug reactions; lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung* / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Liquid Biopsy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Lung Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors