Introduction: Growing data established the importance of monitoring dynamic changes in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to identify early signs of therapeutic responses, allowing for timely management of treatment to achieve more effective personalized therapy. Higher assay accuracy and consistency, and lower assay cost will support more clinical validation trials and benefit more cancer patients with non-invasive ctDNA NGS tests that can simultaneously map multiple genomic alterations at an affordable price. Method: The NVIGEN X - Precision Cancer Profiling test is a next generation sequencing (NGS) based circulating tumor DNA detection assay using the hybridization capture approach with customized gene panels. Our ctDNA NGS assay was developed with the use of high performance magnetic nanobeads, which enhances assay workflow at key steps including cfDNA extraction, NGS library preparation, and target enrichment. Experiments with individual plasma samples and DNA mutant fragments spiked in plasma samples were carried out to establish the assay performance such as sensitivity, specificity, consistency and data efficiency. NGS data QC metrics of the NVIGEN assay were compared with other assays in peer reviewed publications. Results: We developed a focus 32 gene panel that covers 144 kb of gene regions of clinical significance for breast cancer treatment monitoring and guidance, such as AKT1, ERBB2, PIK3CA, EGFR, ESR1, BRCA1/2, and CD274. Our results demonstrated the capability of NVIGEN X ctDNA NGS assay to detect rare copies (8 cp) of gene mutation at 0.07% MAF from DNA mutant fragments spiked into plasma samples. The NVIGEN X ctDNA NGS assays consistently presented 2-5% duplication rate, >80% on-target rate, <10% CV for key NGS data metrics, and on average required 1.36X paired reads per 1X unique coverage. Compared with the Roche Avenio assays (targeted, expanded and surveillance panels) as published in 2020 which on average required 9.36X paired reads per 1X unique coverage, the NVIGEN X -precision cancer profiling assays demonstrated 85% reduction in NGS data need to generate each unique coverage. Compared with the original Capp-seq data as published in the 2014 Nature Medicine paper which required in average 13.78 or 27.56 paired reads per unique coverage, the NVIGEN X assay demonstrated >90% reduction in NGS data need per unique coverage. Conclusion: The NVIGEN X - Precision Cancer Profiling assay provided high NGS assay performance with high sensitivity, specificity, and consistency, and significantly improved NGS data efficiency. This allows for dramatically reduced assay cost and will help support routine applications of ctDNA NGS tests to improve cancer patient treatment. Experiments of applying NVIGEN X assays for clinical research with patient samples are ongoing and will be presented.
Citation Format: Aihua Fu, Wenwu Cui, Minh V. Ton, Kevan Wang, Weiwei Gu, Tianhong Li, Heather A. Parsons, Minetta C. Liu, George W. Sledge. Developing highly sensitive high NGS data efficient ctDNA detection assays for breast cancer surveillance [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; 2021 Dec 7-10; San Antonio, TX. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(4 Suppl):Abstract nr P2-01-15.