A serum-based DNA methylation assay provides accurate detection of glioma

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Publication Title

Neuro Oncol


BACKGROUND: The detection of somatic mutations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from liquid biopsy has emerged as a non-invasive tool to monitor the follow-up of cancer patients. However, the significance of cfDNA clinical utility remains uncertain in patients with brain tumors, primarily because of the limited sensitivity cfDNA has to detect real tumor-specific somatic mutations. This unresolved challenge has prevented accurate follow-up of glioma patients with non-invasive approaches.

METHODS: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of tumor tissue and serum cell-free DNA of glioma patients.

RESULTS: Here, we developed a non-invasive approach to profile the DNA methylation status in the serum of patients with gliomas and identified a cfDNA-derived methylation signature that is associated with the presence of gliomas and related immune features. By testing the signature in an independent discovery and validation cohorts, we developed and verified a score metric (the "glioma epigenetic liquid biopsy score" or GeLB) that optimally distinguished patients with or without glioma (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 97.78%). Furthermore, we found that changes in GeLB score reflected clinicopathological changes during surveillance (e.g., progression, pseudoprogression or response to standard or experimental treatment).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the GeLB score can be used as a complementary approach to diagnose and follow up patients with glioma.

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ePub ahead of print