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High-resolution testing of ctDNA dynamics predicts survival in metastatic NSCLC

One of the great challenges of therapeutic oncology is determining who might achieve survival benefit from a particular therapy. Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) provides real-time assessments of patient prognosis and response to treatment using a simple blood draw. While ctDNA positivity is established as a poor prognostic factor, studies on longitudinal ctDNA dynamics have been small and non-randomized, with ctDNA assessments done at disparate time points. To address this, we performed high-sensitivity longitudinal ctDNA testing in 466 patients across 5 time points (1,954 samples total) in a randomized phase III study comparing different chemotherapy-immunotherapy combinations. We leverage machine learning to jointly model multiple ctDNA metrics to predict overall survival in a training/testing framework. _ . Treatment initiation correlated with reductions in ctDNA levels, and training of our machine learning model suggests that assessment of ctDNA dynamics at C3D1 (cycle 3 day 1) of chemo-IO treatment may be optimal to predict OS. The model performs well in the hold-back test data, enabling stratification of patients with Stable Disease (SD) into high-risk vs low-intermediate-risk (HR = 3.2 [2.0-5.3], p <0.001; median 7.1 versus 22.3 months respectively); similarly, the model stratifies patients with a Partial Response (PR) (HR =3.3 [1.7-6.4], p <0.001; median 8.8 versus 28.6 months). Importantly, the model validates well in an external cohort of patients in a different treatment setting and assayed with a different ctDNA technology, in which model predictions similarly identified high-risk patients (OS HR=3.73 [1.83-7.60], logrank p=0.00012). Simulations of clinical trial scenarios employing our ctDNA model further suggest that early ctDNA testing outperforms early radiographic imaging for predicting trial outcomes (increasing the rate of ‘True Go’ decisions by 5.2 - 22.8% depending on the drug combination). Overall, we show that measuring ctDNA dynamics during the course of therapy dramatically improves patient risk stratification, and may provide a means to differentiate between competing therapies at an early time point during clinical trials.

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001009725 -
EGAD00001009726 -
EGAD00001009764 -
EGAD50000000273 1
Publications Citations
A longitudinal circulating tumor DNA-based model associated with survival in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer.
Nat Med 29: 2023 859-868