Purpose: Plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) variant analysis is commonly used in many cancer subtypes. Cell-free methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (cfMeDIP-seq) has shown high sensitivity for cancer detection. To date, studies have not compared the sensitivity of both methods in a single cancer subtype. Methods: cfDNA from 40 metastatic RCC (mRCC) patients was subjected to targeted panel variant analysis. For 34 of 40, cfMeDIP-seq was also performed. A separate cohort of 38 mRCC patients were used in cfMeDIP-seq analysis to train an RCC classifier. Results: cfDNA variant analysis detected 21 candidate variants in 11 of 40 mRCC patients (28%), after exclusion of 2 germline variants and 6 variants reflecting clonal hematopoiesis. Among 23 patients with parallel tumor sequencing, cfDNA analysis alone identified variants in 9 patients (39%), while cfDNA analysis focused on tumor sequencing variant findings improved the sensitivity to 52%. In 34 mRCC patients undergoing cfMeDIP-seq, cfDNA variant analysis identified variants in 7 (21%), while cfMeDIP-seq detected all mRCC cases (100% sensitivity) with 88% specificity in 34 control subjects. In 5 patients with cfDNA variants and serial samples, variant frequency correlated with response to therapy. Conclusion: cfMeDIP-seq is significantly more sensitive for mRCC detection than cfDNA variant analysis. However, cfDNA variant analysis may be useful for monitoring response to therapy.
- clonal hematopoiesis
- genomic alterations
- massively parallel sequencing
- plasma cell-free DNA
- renal cell carcinoma