Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor T790M Mutation Testing in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: An International Collaborative Study to Assess Molecular EGFR T790M Testing in Liquid Biopsy

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jul 7;15(13):3528. doi: 10.3390/cancers15133528.


Background: The detection of the EGFR T790M (T790M) mutation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who progressed under treatment with first- or second-generation EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) is important to offer a subsequent therapy with a third-generation EGFR-TKI. Liquid biopsy is a powerful tool to determine the T790M mutation status. Several liquid biopsy platforms with varying degrees of accuracy are available to test for T790M mutations, and sensitivities may differ among these methods.

Methods: As no standard exists for the testing of T790M mutation in liquid biopsy, we performed a collaborative study to describe and compare the sensitivity of different in-house liquid biopsy platforms for the detection of the T790M mutation, EGFR exon 19 deletion (del19) and EGFR L858R mutation (L858R) across multiple participating laboratories in seven Central and Eastern European countries.

Results: Of the 25 invited laboratories across Central and Eastern Europe, 21 centers participated and received 10 plasma samples spiked with cell-line DNA containing the T790M, del19, or L858R mutation in different concentrations. In-house PCR-based and NGS-based methods were used accordingly, and results were reported as in routine clinical practice. Two laboratories, which used the AmoyDx® EGFR 29 Mutations Detection Kit (AmoyDx) with Cobas® cfDNA Sample Preparation Kit and QX200 Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) with the QIAamp Circulating Nucleic Acid Kit identified all ten samples correctly. Cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 (Cobas), the NGS methods, and the IdyllaTM detection method used in this study performed within the known sensitivity range of each detection method.

Conclusions: If a negative result was obtained from methods with lower sensitivity (e.g., Cobas), repeated liquid biopsy testing and/or tissue biopsy analysis should be performed whenever possible, to identify T790M-positive patients to allow them to receive the optimal second-line treatment with a third-generation EGFR TKI.

Keywords: EGFR; NGS; NSCLC; PCR; T790M mutation; liquid biopsy.