Comparison of ESR1 Mutations in Tumor Tissue and Matched Plasma Samples from Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

Takashi Takeshita, Yutaka Yamamoto, Mutsuko Yamamoto-Ibusuki, Mai Tomiguchi, Aiko Sueta, Keiichi Murakami, Yoko Omoto, Hirotaka Iwase
Translational Oncology 2017, 10 (5): 766-771

BACKGROUND: ESR1 mutation in circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is emerging as a noninvasive biomarker of acquired resistance to endocrine therapy, but there is a paucity of data comparing the status of ESR1 gene in cfDNA with that in its corresponding tumor tissue. The objective of this study is to validate the degree of concordance of ESR1 mutations between plasma and tumor tissue.

METHODS: ESR1 ligand-binding domain mutations Y537S, Y537N, Y537C, and D538G were analyzed using droplet digital PCR in 35 patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) (35 tumor tissue samples and 67 plasma samples).

RESULTS: Of the 35 paired samples, 26 (74.3%) were concordant: one patient had detectable ESR1 mutations both plasma (ESR1 Y537S/Y537N) and tumor tissue (ESR1 Y537S/Y537C), and 25 had WT ESR1 alleles in both. Nine (25.7%) had discordance between the plasma and tissue results: five had mutations detected only in their tumor tissue (two Y537S, one Y537C, one D538G, and one Y537S/Y537N/D538G), and four had mutations detected only in their plasma (one Y537S, one Y537N, and two Y537S/Y537N/D538G). Furthermore, longitudinal plasma samples from 19 patients were used to assess changes in the presence of ESR1 mutations during treatment. Eleven patients had cfDNA ESR1 mutations over the course of treatment. A total of eight of 11 patients with MBC with cfDNA ESR1 mutations (72.7%) had the polyclonal mutations.

CONCLUSION: We have shown the independent distribution of ESR1 mutations between plasma and tumor tissue in 35 patients with MBC.

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