Association of Clonal Hematopoiesis in DNA Repair Genes With Prostate Cancer Plasma Cell-free DNA Testing Interference.
Published on Jan 1, 2021in JAMA Oncology24.799
· DOI :10.1001/JAMAONCOL.2020.5161
Importance Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) testing is increasingly used in the treatment of patients with advanced prostate cancer. Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) can interfere with cfDNA testing and cause incorrect interpretation of results. There is an urgent need to better understand this problem following recent US Food and Drug Administration approval of poly(ADP) ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) for metastatic prostate cancer based on variants in DNA repair genes that can be affected by CHIP. Objective To determine the prevalence of clinically relevant CHIP interference in prostate cancer cfDNA testing. Design, setting, and participants We report a case series of 69 patients with advanced prostate cancer (metastatic disease or with rising PSA following localized therapy) who had cfDNA variant testing with a large panel cancer next generation sequencing assay (UW-OncoPlexCT). To determine the source of variants in plasma, we tested paired cfDNA and whole blood control samples. The study was carried out in an academic medical center system reference laboratory. Main outcomes and measures Prevalence and gene spectrum of CHIP interference in patients with prostate cancer undergoing cfDNA testing. Results We detected CHIP variants at 2% or more variant fraction in cfDNA from 13 of 69 men with prostate cancer (19%; 95% CI, 10%-30%). Seven men (10%; 95% CI, 4%-20%) had CHIP variants in DNA repair genes used to determine PARPi candidacy, including ATM (n = 5), BRCA2 (n = 1), and CHEK2 (n = 1). Overall, CHIP variants accounted for almost half of the somatic DNA repair gene variants detected. Participant CHIP variants were exponentially correlated with older age (R2 = 0.82). CHIP interference variants could be distinguished from prostate cancer variants using a paired whole-blood control. Conclusions and relevance In this case series, approximately 10% of men with advanced prostate cancer had CHIP interference in plasma cfDNA in DNA repair genes that are used for eligibility of PARPi therapy, most frequently in ATM. Clinical cfDNA testing should include a paired whole-blood control to exclude CHIP variants and avoid misdiagnosis.