Liquid biopsy-based tumor profiling for metastatic colorectal cancer patients with ultra-deep targeted sequencing

Jun Kyu Kang, Sunghoon Heo, Hwang Phill Kim, Sang Hyun Song, Hongseok Yun, Sae Won Han, Gyeong Hoon Kang, Duhee Bang, Tae You Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Analyzing cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a source of circulating tumor DNA is useful for diagnosing or monitoring patients with cancer. However, the concordance between cfDNA within liquid biopsy and genomic DNA (gDNA) within tumor tissue biopsy is still under debate. To evaluate the concordance in a clinical setting, we enrolled 54 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and analyzed their plasma cfDNA, gDNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and gDNA from available matched tumor tissues using ultra-deep sequencing targeting 10 genes (38-kb size) recurrently mutated in colorectal cancer. We first established a highly reliable cut-off value using reference material. The sensitivity of detecting KRAS hotspot mutations in plasma was calculated as 100%, according to digital droplet PCR. We could selectively detect clinically important somatic alterations with a variant allele frequency as low as 0.18%. We next compared somatic mutations of the 10 genes between cfDNA and genomic DNA from tumor tissues and observed an overall 93% concordance rate between the two types of samples. Additionally, the concordance rate of patients with the time interval between liquid biopsy and tumor tissue biopsy within 6 months and no prior exposure to chemotherapy was much higher than those without. The patients with KRAS mutant fragments in plasma had poor prognosis than those without the mutant fragments (33 months vs. 63 months; p<0.05). Consequently, the profiling with our method could achieve highly concordant results and may facilitate the surveillance of the tumor status with liquid biopsy in CRC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0232754
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to all members of our group for their helpful advice. This research was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (HI182282, HI14C1277), and by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (2016M3A9B6026918, 2017M3A9A7050614).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Kang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Liquid biopsy-based tumor profiling for metastatic colorectal cancer patients with ultra-deep targeted sequencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this