Background: Early detection of recurrence and monitoring of MRD post-surgery is critical for clinical decision-making to tailor adjuvant therapy. In early-stage NSCLC, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) detection is especially challenging, requiring highly sensitive and specific assays. Therefore, we used a WGS approach (MRDetect) for ultra-sensitive ctDNA detection in NSCLC patients (pts) undergoing curative surgery.

Methods: We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the MRDetect approach in serial plasma samples (including pre-surgery, post-surgery and follow-up [f/u] timepoints) from resected stage IB-IIIA NSCLC pts. Pts underwent routine surveillance by computed tomography scans. ctDNA was extracted from ~1mL plasma. MRDetect uses WGS by a tumor-informed approach (sequencing coverage 40x for tumor, 20x for plasma DNA) combined with AI-based error suppression models (trained and calibrated with a non-cancer cohort, n=17) to increase the signal to noise ratio for precise ctDNA detection, and improve the accuracy of readouts especially for low tumor burden scenarios. The assay reports the detection and quantification of ctDNA burden in blood with a prognostic value for risk of recurrence. The ability of the assay to predict recurrence from a single sample, taken at the clinical landmark point (median 1.6 mths post-surgery, range 0.1-6.5) was evaluated.

Results: Overall, 52 NSCLC pts were enrolled (n=88 plasma samples) with median clinical f/u of 32.6 mths (range 3.1-98.6). There were 43 pts with post-surgery landmark samples, with median age 62 years, 70% were male, 79% were adenocarcinoma and 49% were EGFR mutated. 26% were stage IB and 37% each were stage II and III. There were 15/18 (sensitivity 83%) pts with confirmed radiological recurrence in which MRDetect was positive, including 6/7 (86%) EGFR mutated pts. The median RFS in MRDetect positive pts was 15.2 mths (range 3.7-33.4). Among 25 pts with no recurrence (median f/u 25.6 mths), MRDetect reported 4 pts to be MRD positive (specificity 84%). These results were consistent between EGFR mutated (sensitivity 86%, specificity 86%) and wildtype pts (sensitivity 82%, specificity 82%). For longitudinal samples (n=17 pts), negative ctDNA was associated with absence of recurrence in 14/15 pts (specificity 93%). At the AACR meeting, results from a planned larger validation study will be presented.

Conclusion: Using a robust WGS implemented AI-based computational platform (MRDetect), we demonstrate high sensitivity and specificity detection of MRD in both EGFR mutated and wildtype NSCLC. With an increasing number of therapeutic options in the adjuvant setting for NSCLC, an ultra-sensitive MRD assay has the potential to facilitate personalized clinical decision-making for tailoring both the need and choice of adjuvant therapies.

Citation Format: Aaron C. Tan, Stephanie P. Saw, Gillianne G. Lai, Kevin L. Chua, Angela Takano, Boon-Hean Ong, Tina P. Koh, Amit Jain, Wan Ling Tan, Quan Sing Ng, Ravindran Kanesvaran, Tanujaa Rajasekaran, Sunil Deochand, Dillon Maloney, Danielle Afterman, Tomer Lauterman, Noah Friedman, Imane Bourzgui, Nidhi Ramaraj, Zohar Donenhirsh, Ronel Veksler, Jonathan Rosenfeld, Ravi Kandasamy, Iman Tavassoly, Boris Oklander, Asaf Zviran, Wan-Teck Lim, Eng-Huat Tan, Anders J. Skanderup, Mei-Kim Ang, Daniel S. Tan. Ultra-sensitive detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) through whole genome sequencing (WGS) using an AI-based error suppression model in resected early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2022; 2022 Apr 8-13. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(12_Suppl):Abstract nr 5114.