Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Brainstem Gliomas in Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Patients Through Cerebrospinal Fluid Cell-Free DNA Sequencing

TitleNon-Invasive Diagnosis of Brainstem Gliomas in Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Patients Through Cerebrospinal Fluid Cell-Free DNA Sequencing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsHill K, Giantini-Larsen AM, Hickman RA, Holle B, Alano T, Doe-Tetteh S, Bouvier N, Li S, Stockfisch E, Huereca C, DiNapoli S, Hertz CAnn, Lee A, Szalontay L, Li BKincheon, Riviere-Cazau C, Burns TC, Haque S, Bale T, Benhamida J, Dogan S, Vanderbilt C, Borsu L, Ross D, Chang J, Zampieri CBarbosa, Donzelli M, Dunkel IJ, Kramer K, Sait SFarouk, Khakoo Y, Gilheeney S, Souweidane M, Greenfield J, Berger M, Arcila M, Ladanyi M, Mellinghoff I, Karajannis M, Miller A
IssueSupplement 1
Start Pagei31
Date Published06/2023
Type of ArticleAbstracts from the 2023 Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Research Conference
Accession NumberWOS:001023504300123

Intrinsic brainstem tumors arising in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients comprise a spectrum of entities, predominantly diffuse midline gliomas (DMG) and IDH mutant astrocytomas. Accurate molecular diagnosis is essential for prognostication and optimal therapy. Therapeutic considerations include inclusion (in IDH mutant) or exclusion (in H3K27M) of adjuvant Temozolomide post radiotherapy and use of molecular targeted therapy (IDH inhibitors). Surgical biopsy, however, is associated with increased risk of permanent neurological deficits and may yield insufficient or non-diagnostic tissue. We hypothesized that minimally-invasive “liquid biopsy” of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could represent a superior diagnostic modality in this patient population, employing molecular analysis of cell free DNA (cfDNA).

We analyzed 44 CSF samples from 38 unique patients for recurrent driver mutations in brainstem gliomas, including H3K27M, IDH1, and IDH2. MSKIMPACT, a NY state-authorized hybridization capture-based next-generation panel DNA sequencing assay, was used for analysis. Samples without a detectable driver mutation by MSK-IMPACT testing were further subjected to gene targeted testing by droplet digital PCR.  In all, 10/44 (22.7%) samples had mutations detected by MSK-IMPACT using standard calling criteria and 13 of the remaining 34 samples (38.2%) had supporting evidence of a mutation based on manual review.  Further testing by ddPCR was performed on a subset of cases (based on DNA availability) which confirmed 7 of the previous low-level mutations and uncovered 4 additional mutations.  

Overall, 27/44 (61.4%) of cases had detectable evidence of a mutation, and of the 23 patients without a known tissue diagnosis, a driver in the CSF was identified for 47.8% of patients (11/23).  Minimally invasive analysis of CSF cfDNA in patients with intrinsic brainstem tumors has a high diagnostic yield and may obviate the need for tissue biopsy in a majority of patients.  Testing with high sensitivity assays is valuable to maximize the rate of detection.