Prognostic Value of Low-Pass Whole Genome Sequencing of Circulating Tumor DNA in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Clin Chem. 2023 Apr 3;69(4):386-398. doi: 10.1093/clinchem/hvac224.


Background: Multiple treatments are available for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), including androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI) enzalutamide and abiraterone, but therapy resistance remains a major clinical obstacle. We examined the clinical utility of low-pass whole-genome sequencing (LPWGS) of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for prognostication in mCRPC.

Methods: A total of 200 plasma samples from 143 mCRPC patients collected at the start of first-line ARSI treatment (baseline) and at treatment termination (n = 57, matched) were analyzed by LPWGS (median: 0.50X) to access ctDNA% and copy number alteration (CNA) patterns. The best confirmed prostate specific antigen (PSA) response (≥50% decline [PSA50]), PSA progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were used as endpoints. For external validation, we used plasma LPWGS data from an independent cohort of 70 mCRPC patients receiving first-line ARSI.

Results: Baseline ctDNA% ranged from ≤3.0% to 73% (median: 6.6%) and CNA burden from 0% to 82% (median: 13.1%) in the discovery cohort. High ctDNA% and high CNA burden at baseline was associated with poor PSA50 response (P = 0.0123/0.0081), poor PFS (P < 0.0001), and poor OS (P < 0.0001). ctDNA% and CNA burden was higher at PSA progression than at baseline in 32.7% and 42.3% of the patients. High ctDNA% and high CNA burden at baseline was also associated with poor PFS and OS (P ≤ 0.0272) in the validation cohort.

Conclusions: LPWGS of ctDNA provides clinically relevant information about the tumor genome in mCRPC patients. Using LPWGS data, we show that high ctDNA% and CNA burden at baseline is associated with short PFS and OS in 2 independent cohorts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Circulating Tumor DNA* / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant* / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Circulating Tumor DNA