Clonal dynamics of circulating tumor DNA during immune checkpoint blockade therapy for melanoma.

Cancer Science
Erina TakaiShinichi Yachida


Assessment of treatment efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors in melanoma patients is difficult as the response to these therapies varies among patients or lesions. The clonal evolution of cancer during immune checkpoint blockade therapy could cause treatment resistance. We investigated the potential of liquid biopsy in monitoring the mutational profiles of metastatic melanoma during immunotherapy. Plasma samples collected from 21 Japanese metastatic melanoma patients before immune checkpoint blockade therapy were subjected to whole-exome sequencing (WES). Furthermore, 14 Japanese patients with melanoma were enrolled for longitudinal analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Plasma samples were collected prospectively before and during therapy and sequenced. WES of the pretreatment plasma from Japanese melanoma patients showed detectable ctDNA levels with wide ranges of variant allele frequencies within a sample, suggesting clonal and subclonal mutations in ctDNA. In targeted sequencing using longitudinal samples, ctDNA levels correlated with increased tumor size, while ctDNA content immediately decreased after a surge in a patient exhibiting pseudo-progression, suggesting the potential of ctDNA analysis in discriminating b...Continue Reading


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