A Comparative Study for Detection of EGFR Mutations in Plasma Cell-Free DNA in Korean Clinical Diagnostic Laboratories

Yoonjung Kim, Saeam Shin, Kyung A. Lee

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Liquid biopsies to genotype the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) for targeted therapy have been implemented in clinical decision-making in the field of lung cancer, but harmonization of detection methods is still scarce among clinical laboratories. We performed a pilot external quality assurance (EQA) scheme to harmonize circulating tumor DNA testing among laboratories. For EQA, we created materials containing different levels of spiked cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in normal plasma. The limit of detection (LOD) of the cobas® EGFR Mutation Test v2 (Roche Molecular Systems) was also evaluated. From November 2016 to June 2017, seven clinical diagnostic laboratories participated in the EQA program. The majority (98.94%) of results obtained using the cobas assay and next-generation sequencing (NGS) were acceptable. Quantitative results from the cobas assay were positively correlated with allele frequencies derived from digital droplet PCR measurements and showed good reproducibility among laboratories. The LOD of the cobas assay was 527 copies/mL for p.E746-A750del (exon 19 deletion), 3570 copies/mL for p.L858R, 1836 copies/mL for p.T790M, and 1531 copies/mL for p.A767-V769dup (exon 20 insertion). Deep sequencing of materials (>100,000X depth of coverage) resulted in detection of low-level targets present at frequencies of 0.060.13%. Our results indicate that the cobas assay is a reliable and rapid method for detecting EGFR mutations in plasma cfDNA. Careful interpretation is particularly important for p.T790M detection in the setting of relapse. Individual laboratories should optimize NGS performance to maximize clinical utility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7392419
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (A120030).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Yoonjung Kim et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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