3 years ago

Circulating free DNA integrity and concentration as independent prognostic markers in metastatic breast cancer

Klaus Pantel, Markus Wallwiener, Harald Surowy, Katarina Cuk, Christof Sohn, Jie Cheng, Andreas Schneeweiss, Tim Holland-Letz, Andreas Trumpp, Barbara Burwinkel, Sarah Schott



Non-invasive blood-based molecular markers have been investigated for cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Circulating free or cell-free DNA (cfDNA) variables have been shown to be putative markers in breast cancer prognosis.


Here, we investigated the potential prognostic ability of cfDNA concentration and cfDNA integrity (cfDI) in a study cohort of 268 patients by quantitative PCR. We compared cfDNA concentration and cfDI at baseline and after one cycle of therapy in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients.


A significantly increased cfDI (P = 1.21E-7 for ALU and P = 1.87E-3 for LINE1) and decreased cfDNA concentration (P = 1.17E-3 for ALU and P = 1.60E-2 for LINE1) in both repetitive DNA elements after one cycle of therapy was observed. A multiple Cox regression model indicated that cfDI and cfDNA concentration can serve as independent prognostic markers in patients at baseline with HR (95% CI) of 0.70 (0.48–1.01) for ALU cfDI, 0.63 (0.44–0.92) for LINE1 cfDI, 2.44 (1.68–3.53) for ALU cfDNA concentration, and 2.12 (1.47–3.06) for LINE1 cfDNA concentration and after one cycle of therapy with HR (95% CI) of 0.59 (0.42–0.84) for ALU cfDI, 0.51 (0.36–0.74) for LINE1 cfDI, 1.59 (1.31–1.92) for ALU cfDNA concentration, and 1.30 (1.17–1.45) for LINE1 cfDNA concentration, respectively. By comparing integrated prediction error of different models, cfDNA variables were shown to improve the prognostic power of the CTC status.


We hereby show that cfDNA variables, especially in combination with other markers, can serve as attractive prognostic markers for MBC patients at baseline and during the systematic therapy.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-018-4666-5

DOI: 10.1007/s10549-018-4666-5

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