DNA damage measured in blood cells predicts overall and progression-free survival in germ cell tumour patients

Zuzana Sestakova, Katarina Kalavska, Bozena Smolkova, Vera Miskovska, Katarina Rejlekova, Zuzana Sycova-Mila, Patrik Palacka, Jana Obertova, Andrea Holickova, Lenka Hurbanova, Dana Jurkovicova, Jan Roska, Eduard Goffa, Daniela Svetlovska, Michal Chovanec, Jozef Mardiak, Michal Mego, Miroslav Chovanec
Mutation Research 2020, 854-855: 503200
Germ cell tumour (GCT) patients who fail to respond to chemotherapy or who relapse have a poor prognosis. Timely and accurately stratifying such patients could optimise their therapy. We identified endogenous DNA damage levels as a prognostic marker for progression-free (PFS) and overall (OS) survival in chemotherapy-naïve GCT patients. In the present study, we have extended our previous results and reviewed the prognostic power of DNA damage level in GCTs. Endogenous DNA damage levels were measured with the comet assay. Receiver operator characteristic analysis was applied to determine the optimal cut-off value and to evaluate its prognostic accuracy. PFS and OS were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Hazard ratio (HR) estimates were calculated by Cox regression analysis. A cut-off value of 6.34 provided the highest sensitivity and specificity, with area under curve values of 0.813 and 0.814 for disease progression and mortality, respectively. A % DNA in tail > 6.34 was significantly associated with shorter PFS (HR = 9.54, 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 3.43-26.55, p < 0.001) and OS (HR = 14.62, 95 % CI: 3.14-67.95, p = 0.001) by univariate analysis. The prognostic value of DNA damage measurement was confirmed by multivariate models (HR = 6.45, 95 % CI: 2.22-18.75, p = 0.001 for PFS and HR = 9.40, 95 % CI: 1.70-52.09, p = 0.010 for OS), when HR was adjusted for relevant clinical categories. The added prognostic value of DNA damage in combination with International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group (IGCCCG) risk groups has been revealed. Endogenous DNA damage is an independent prognosticator for PFS and OS in GCT patients and its clinical use, particularly in combination with IGCCCG risk groups, may help in stratifying these patients.

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