Chromosomal translocations with immunoglobin (IG) loci are the classic drivers in a large subset of B-cell lymphomas. Detection of these translocations is important for confirmation of diagnosis and for prognosis and therapy decisions. Currently, molecular diagnosis of translocations in lymphomas is not addressed well by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The standard method for detection of translocations is fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), which is labor intensive and can be difficult to interpret. There is a need for a robust technology that can be standardized. Targeted Locus Capture (TLC) selectively enriches and sequences entire genes based on the crosslinking of physically proximal sequences, and thereby enables complete sequencing of genes of interest, including detection of large structural variants. Because the technology is based on the crosslinking and fragmenting of DNA, it has particular advantages in the analysis of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples in which DNA is inherently crosslinked and fragmented. In order to validate the FFPE-TLC technology as a novel approach for translocation detection in lymphoma samples, we have developed a panel assay containing genes with frequent translocations (MYC, BCL2, BCL6, IG loci). With this assay we have analyzed >140 lymphoma and control FFPE samples of variable input amounts and qualities that had previously been analyzed with FISH, and a subset also with standard targeted NGS. Good concordance with FISH results was observed for both translocation-positive and -negative samples. In 10 cases for which FFPE-TLC analysis resulted in a different finding than FISH, discordance could be explained by higher sensitivity of FFPE-TLC or by inconclusive FISH results. In a specific case, FFPE-TLC detected a small-distance rearrangement on chromosome 3 that caused a BCL6 fusion but led to insufficient and therefore undetectable break-apart with FISH. Secondly, the FFPE-TLC approach was tested on a set of 19 B-cell lymphoma FFPE samples that had previously been analyzed using standard targeted NGS and FISH and was enriched for discordant results between these methods. FFPE-TLC-based NGS enables more robust translocation calling as the detection relies on broad sequencing coverage across the translocation partner rather than on breakpoint sequences only. In 3 cases, FFPE-TLC could proof false negative calls in standard targeted NGS due to breakpoints located in regions difficult to capture or to sequence. In 1 case, standard targeted NGS had made a false positive call on a breakpoint sequence that was shown to be caused by a small insertion rather than a genuine translocation. This study shows that FFPE-TLC promises to be a robust alternative for FISH analysis and standard targeted NGS procedures in lymphoma diagnostics and in other cancers with frequent structural variants. The FFPE-TLC approach enables a single, DNA-based NGS test detecting both small mutations and translocations.

Citation Format: Amin Allahyar, Mark Pieterse, Joost Swennenhuis, Tjitske Los-de Vries, Mehmet Yilmaz, Roos Leguit, Ruud Meijers, Nathalie Hijmering, Daphne de Jong, Bauke Ylstra, Robert van der Geize, Joost Vermaat, Arjen Cleven, Tom van Wezel, Arjan Diepstra, Leon van Kempen, Karima Hajo, Harma Feitsma, Marieke Simonis, Max van Min, Erik Splinter, Wouter de Laat. Robust detection of translocations in lymphoma FFPE samples using Targeted Locus Capture-based sequencing [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Meeting: Advances in Malignant Lymphoma; 2020 Aug 17-19. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Blood Cancer Discov 2020;1(3_Suppl):Abstract nr PO-45.