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Comparing single-target and multitarget approaches for postoperative circulating tumour DNA detection in stage II-III colorectal cancer patients

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Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) detection for postoperative risk stratification in cancer patients has great clinical potential. However, low ctDNA abundances complicates detection. Multitarget (MT) detection strategies have been developed to increase sensitivity. Yet, empirical evidence supporting performance gains of MT vs. single-target (ST) strategies in a postoperative setting is limited. We compared ctDNA detection in 379 paired plasma samples from 112 stage II-III colorectal cancer patients by ST digital PCR and MT sequencing of 16 patient-specific variants. The strategies exhibited good concordance (90%, Cohen's Kappa 0.79), with highly correlated ctDNA quantifications (Pearson r = 0.985). A difference was observed in ctDNA detection preoperatively (ST 72/92, MT 88/92). However, no difference was observed immediately after surgery in recurrence (ST 11/22, MT 10/22) or nonrecurrence (both 2/34) patients. In serial samples, detection was similar within recurrence (ST 13/16, MT 14/16) and nonrecurrence (ST 3/49, MT 1/49) patients. Both approaches yielded similar lead times to standard-of-care radiology (ST 4.0 months, MT 4.1 months). Our findings do not support significant performance gains of the MT strategy over the ST strategy for postoperative ctDNA detection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Oncology
Pages (from-to)3654-3665
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Research areas

  • circulating tumour DNA, colorectal cancer, liquid biopsy, residual disease

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