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Investigative Report

Early Circulating Tumour DNA Variations Predict Tumour Response in Melanoma Patients Treated with Immunotherapy

Laura Keller, Nicolas Guibert, Anne Casanova, Stephanie Brayer, Magali Farella, Myriam Delaunay, Julia Gilhodes, Elodie Martin, Gisèle Balagué, Gilles Favre, Anne Pradines, Nicolas Meyer
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3080

Preview of fully accepted paper, still not published in any volume


Antibodies targeting immune checkpoints were recently approved for metastatic melanoma. However, not all patients will respond to the treatment and some will experience grade III–IV immune-related adverse events. Therefore, early identification of non-responder patients would greatly aid clinical practice. Detection of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is a non-invasive approach to monitor tumour response. Digital droplet PCR was used to quantify BRAF and NRAS mutations in the plasma of patients with metastatic melanoma treated with immunotherapy. In 16 patients, ctDNA variations mirrored tumour response (p = 0.034) and ctDNA augmentation during follow-up detected tumour progression with 100% specificity. In 13 patients, early ctDNA variation was associated with clinician decision at first evaluation (p = 0.0046), and early ctDNA increase with shorter progression-free survival (median 21 vs. 145 days; p = 0.001). Monitoring ctDNA variations early during immunotherapy may help clinicians rapidly to discriminate non-responder patients, allow early adaptation of therapeutic strategies, and reduce exposure to ineffective, expensive treatment.

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