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Analytical validation of a next generation sequencing liquid biopsy assay for high sensitivity broad molecular profiling.

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Plagnol, Vincent 
Woodhouse, Samuel 
Howarth, Karen 
Lensing, Stefanie 
Smith, Matt 


Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis is being incorporated into cancer care; notably in profiling patients to guide treatment decisions. Responses to targeted therapies have been observed in patients with actionable mutations detected in plasma DNA at variant allele fractions (VAFs) below 0.5%. Highly sensitive methods are therefore required for optimal clinical use. To enable objective assessment of assay performance, detailed analytical validation is required. We developed the InVisionFirst™ assay, an assay based on enhanced tagged amplicon sequencing (eTAm-Seq™) technology to profile 36 genes commonly mutated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancer types for actionable genomic alterations in cell-free DNA. The assay has been developed to detect point mutations, indels, amplifications and gene fusions that commonly occur in NSCLC. For analytical validation, two 10mL blood tubes were collected from NSCLC patients and healthy volunteer donors. In addition, contrived samples were used to represent a wide spectrum of genetic aberrations and VAFs. Samples were analyzed by multiple operators, at different times and using different reagent Lots. Results were compared with digital PCR (dPCR). The InVisionFirst assay demonstrated an excellent limit of detection, with 99.48% sensitivity for SNVs present at VAF range 0.25%-0.33%, 92.46% sensitivity for indels at 0.25% VAF and a high rate of detection at lower frequencies while retaining high specificity (99.9997% per base). The assay also detected ALK and ROS1 gene fusions, and DNA amplifications in ERBB2, FGFR1, MET and EGFR with high sensitivity and specificity. Comparison between the InVisionFirst assay and dPCR in a series of cancer patients showed high concordance. This analytical validation demonstrated that the InVisionFirst assay is highly sensitive, specific and robust, and meets analytical requirements for clinical applications.



Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Circulating Tumor DNA, Cohort Studies, Humans, Liquid Biopsy, Mutation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sequence Analysis, DNA

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PLoS One

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Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Cancer Research UK (C14303/A17197)