The analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is rapidly emerging as a powerful approach to guide the clinical care of cancer patients. Several comprehensive cfDNA assays designed to detect mutations across several genes are now available. Here, we analyzed the use of a cfDNA panel in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Twenty-eight CRC patients with relapse or metastatic disease and 31 patients with no evidence of disease (NED) were enrolled. Genomic alterations in cfDNA were analyzed by the Oncomine™ Pan-Cancer Cell-Free Assay that detects hotspot mutations, small indels, copy number changes, and gene fusions across 52 genes. In the NED group, genomic alterations in cfDNA were detected in 12/31 patients (38.7%). The detection of alterations was more common in patients who were ≥60 years old, and the most common genomic alteration was a TP53 mutation. Fifty percent of the TP53 mutations were frequently or very frequently found in human cancers. Among 28 patients with relapse or metastatic disease, 22 (78.6%) had genomic alterations in cfDNA. The alterations were detected most frequently in TP53 (n = 10), followed by KRAS (n = 9). Actionable targets for CRC, including ERBB2 amplification and BRAF mutations, could be identified by this cfDNA assay. Compared with mutational profiling routinely analyzed using tumor samples, several additional targets with currently available therapies, including IDH1, IDH2, and PDGFRA mutations, were discovered. The cfDNA assay could identify potentially actionable targets for CRC. Identifying how to filter out cancer-like genomic alterations not derived from tumors remains a challenge.
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