Introduction: Liquid biopsy-based detection and monitoring of tumor-specific somatic mutations in cell-free DNA has great potential to improve patient care by detecting cancer early, assisting adjuvant therapy decision-making, monitoring residual disease, determining treatment effects, assessing relapse and the consequent need for follow-up intervention. We have developed a novel highly sensitive and specific approach for the detection and quantification of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) by tracking personalized cancer signatures in plasma. We recently described our ability to detect ctDNA presence longitudinally in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and have validated this personalized approach for detection of tumor DNA in plasma, and made it available for research use only (RUO).

Summary of Experimental Procedures: This study describes results of the Signatera RUO assay's analytical validation test titrations of cancer cell lines and their matched normal counterparts. Multiplex-PCR (mPCR) assay pools specific to the tumor mutational signatures were derived from whole-exome data analysis of the tumor cell line and its corresponding matched normal cell line. Tumor DNA spike-in mixtures were amplified using the mPCR assays and then barcoded and sequenced at ultra-high depth on the Illumina HiSeq instrument (average > 100,000 reads per target). This study also demonstrates the ability to detect ctDNA using Signatera RUO assay's personalized somatic mutations in patients with epithelial and non-epithelial ovarian cancer.

Results/Data Summary: The Signatera RUO analytical validation results demonstrate a variant-level sensitivity of ~60% at spiked-in tumor DNA concentrations of 0.03% along with an assay specificity of 99.9% in wild-type DNA. By targeting 16 somatic mutations present in the tumor, an estimated LOD of 0.01% tumor DNA in a patient's plasma is achieved. The Signatera RUO assay also demonstrates the ability to detect ctDNA in plasma down to less than 0.1% VAF at baseline (prior to treatment) in epithelial and non-epithelial ovarian cancer.

Conclusion: The Signatera RUO assay provides a unique method to noninvasively detect ctDNA by assaying for personalized cancer signatures in plasma by ultra-high-depth sequencing of custom-made multiplex PCR assays, with high sensitivity and high specificity. Our study demonstrates the potential of this technology to improve the current standard of care by enabling early recurrence detection and the monitoring of treatment effectiveness across several tumor types.

Citation Format: Himanshu Sethi, Raheleh Salari, Samantha Navarro, Prashanthi Natarajan, Ramya Srinivasan, Scott Dashner, Tony Tin, Mustafa Balcioglu, Ryan Swenerton, Bernhard Zimmermann. Analytical validation of the SignateraTM RUO assay, a highly sensitive patient-specific multiplex PCR NGS-based noninvasive cancer recurrence detection and therapy monitoring assay [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 4542.