Objectives: To design and evaluate a next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based method for T-cell receptor g (TCRG) gene-based T-cell clonality testing on the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (Life Technologies, Carlsbad, CA) platform. Methods: We analyzed a series of peripheral blood, bone marrow, and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens with NGS vs traditional capillary electrophoresis methods. Results: Using a custom analysis algorithm that we developed, our NGS assay identified between 2,215 and 48,222 unique TCRG rearrangements in a series of 48 samples. We established criteria for assigning clonality based on parameters derived from both the relative and absolute frequencies of reads. In a comparison with standard capillary electrophoresis, 19 of 19 polyclonal samples and 24 of 27 samples that appeared clonal were in agreement. The three discrepant samples demonstrated some of the pitfalls of amplicon length-based testing. Dilution studies with T-lymphoid cell lines demonstrated that a known clonal sequence could be routinely identified when present in as few as 0.1% of total cells demonstrating suitability in residual disease testing. A series of samples was also analyzed on a second NGS platform and yielded very similar results with respect to the frequency and sequence of the clonal rearrangement. Conclusions: In this proof-of-concept study, we describe an NGS-based T-cell clonality assay that is suitable for routine clinical testing either alone or as an adjunct to traditional methods.
- Next generation sequencing