Detection of aneuploidy in cerebrospinal fluid from patients with breast cancer can improve diagnosis of leptomeningeal metastases

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Purpose: Detection of leptomeningeal metastasis is hampered by limited sensitivities of currently used techniques: MRI and cytology of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Detection of cell-free tumor DNA in CSF has been proposed as a tumor-specific candidate to detect leptomeningeal metastasis at an earlier stage. The aim of this study was to investigate mutation and aneuploidy status in CSF-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) of patients with breast cancer with a clinical suspicion of leptomeningeal metastasis. Experimental Design: cfDNA was isolated from stored remnant CSF and analyzed by targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS; n ¼ 30) and the modified fast aneuploidy screening test-sequencing system (mFAST-SeqS; n ¼ 121). The latter method employs selective amplification of long interspaced nuclear elements sequences that are present throughout the genome and allow for fast and cheap detection of aneuploidy. We compared these results with the gold standard to diagnose leptomeningeal metastasis: cytology. Results: Leptomeningeal metastasis was cytology proven in 13 of 121 patients. Low DNA yields resulted in insufficient molecular coverage of NGS for the majority of samples (success rate, 8/30). The mFAST-SeqS method, successful in 112 of 121 (93%) samples, detected genome-wide aneuploidy in 24 patients. Ten of these patients had cytology-proven leptomeningeal metastasis; 8 additional patients were either concurrently diagnosed with central nervous system metastases by radiological means or developed these soon after the lumbar puncture. The remaining six cases were suspected of leptomeningeal metastasis, but could not be confirmed by cytology or imaging. Aneuploidy was associated with development of leptomeningeal metastasis and significantly worse overall survival. Conclusions: Aneuploidy in CSF-derived cfDNA may provide a promising biomarker to improve timely detection of leptomeningeal metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2798-2806
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021

Bibliographical note

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or nonprofit sectors. We thank Charlotte C.J. Rimmelzwaan and Laura Pasquet for their help with the CSF cfDNA isolations and cfDNA mFAST-SeqS experiments.

The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked advertisement in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 American Association for Cancer Research.


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