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Tumor-related mutations in cell-free DNA in pre-operative plasma as a prognostic indicator of recurrence in endometrial cancer


Objectives Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has potential as a basis for understanding the molecular features of a tumor non-invasively and for use as a diagnostic, prognostic, and disease-monitoring marker. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical roles of ctDNA in patients with endometrial cancer.

Methods Since PIK3CA and KRAS are among the most common mutated genes in endometrial cancer, somatic mutations of these genes were investigated in tumor specimens and plasma collected before surgery, using droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR). ctDNA was defined as positive when the corresponding mutation between somatic and plasma was also detected in plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA). Relationships of the presence of ctDNA with clinicopathological features were examined.

Results Somatic PIK3CA and/or KRAS mutations were found in 68 (34%) of 199 patients with endometrial cancer. Ten (14.7%) of 68 patients had similar mutations in cfDNA. ctDNA detected in pre-operative plasma was correlated with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage (p=0.008), histology (p=0.028), and lymphovascular space invasion (p=0.002), and with shorter recurrence-free and overall survival (p=0.004 and p=0.010, respectively, by log-rank test).

Conclusion Tumor-related ctDNA detected in plasma before surgery was associated with poorer oncologic outcome on univariate analysis in patients with endometrial cancer harboring PIK3CA or KRAS mutations.

  • uterine cancer
  • endometrial neoplasms

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