Circulating Tumor DNA Is Associated with Response and Survival in Patients with Advanced Leiomyosarcoma

Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Jun 13;28(12):2579-2586. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-3951.


Purpose: We sought to determine whether the detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in samples of patients undergoing chemotherapy for advanced leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is associated with objective response or survival.

Experimental design: Using ultra-low-passage whole-genome sequencing (ULP-WGS) of plasma cell-free DNA from patients treated on a prospective clinical trial, we tested whether detection of ctDNA evaluated prior to the start of therapy and after two cycles of chemotherapy was associated with treatment response and outcome. Associations between detection of ctDNA and pathologic measures of disease burden were evaluated.

Results: We found that ctDNA was detectable by ULP-WGS in 49% patients prior to treatment and in 24.6% patients after two cycles of chemotherapy. Detection of pretreatment ctDNA was significantly associated with a lower overall survival [HR, 1.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03-2.31; P = 0.03] and a significantly lower likelihood of objective response [odds ratio (OR), 0.21; 95% CI, 0.06-0.59; P = 0.005]. After two cycles of chemotherapy, patients who continued to have detectable levels of ctDNA experienced a significantly worse overall survival (HR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1-3.14; P = 0.05) and were unlikely to experience an objective response (OR, 0.05; 95% CI, 0-0.39; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that detection of ctDNA is associated with outcome and objective response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced LMS. These results suggest that liquid biopsy assays could be used to inform treatment decisions by recognizing patients who are likely and unlikely to benefit from chemotherapy. See related commentary by Kasper and Wilky, p. 2480.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / blood
  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / drug therapy
  • Leiomyosarcoma* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Prospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Circulating Tumor DNA