EuroClonality-NGS Recommendations for Evaluation of B-Cell Clonality Analysis by Next-Generation Sequencing: A Structured Approach with the DEPART Algorithm

Michiel van den Brand, Markus Möbs, Franziska Otto, Leonie I Kroeze, David Gonzalez-de Castro, Kostas Stamatopoulos, Frederic Davi, Clotilde Bravetti, P Martijn Kolijn, Elisavet Vlachonikola, J Peter Stewart, Christiane Pott, Michael Hummel, Nikos Darzentas, Anton W Langerak, Falko Fend, Patricia J T A Groenen

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Next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based clonality analysis allows in-depth assessment of the clonal composition of a sample with high sensitivity for detecting small clones. Within the EuroClonality–NGS Working Group, a protocol for NGS Ig clonality analysis was developed and validated previously. This NGS-based approach was designed to generate small amplicons, making it suitable for samples with suboptimal DNA quality, especially material derived from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue. Using expert assessment of NGS Ig clonality results as a reference, a structured algorithmic approach to the assessment of NGS-amplicon–based B-cell clonality analysis was developed. A structured approach with the Detection of clonality through Evaluation of sample quality and assessment of Pattern, Abundance and RaTio (DEPART) algorithm was proposed, which consecutively evaluates sample quality, the pattern of the clonotypes present, the abundance of the most dominant clonotypes, and the ratio between the dominant clonotypes and the background to evaluate the different Ig gene targets. Specific issues with respect to evaluation of the various Ig targets as well as the integration of results of individual targets into a molecular clonality conclusion are discussed and illustrated with case examples. Finally, the importance of interpretation of NGS-based clonality results in clinical and histopathologic contexts is discussed. It is expected that these recommendations will have clinical utility to facilitate proper evaluation of clonality assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-739
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of molecular diagnostics : JMD
Issue number10
Early online date17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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© 2023 Association for Molecular Pathology and American Society for Investigative Pathology


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