Compared to plasma, bronchial washing fluid shows higher diagnostic yields for detecting EGFR-TKI sensitizing mutations by ddPCR in lung cancer
The rate of diagnosis of advanced lung adenocarcinoma must be improved. In this study, we compared the detection rates of EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor-sensitizing mutations (mEGFRs) in bronchial washing fluid (BWF) and the plasma of patients with lung adenocarcinoma using the tissue genotype as the standard reference. Paired blood and BWF specimens were collected from 73 patients with lung cancer. The tumor EGFR mutation status was determined by genotyping of the plasma and BWF samples using
... BWF samples using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). The study cohort included 26, 10, 10, and 27 patients with stage I, II, III, and IV disease. Of the 73 cases, 35 had a wild-type EGFR, and 19 had the L858R substitution and exon 19 deletion mutations. The areas under the receiver operator characteristic curves for sensitivity vs. specificity of ddPCR were 0.895 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.822-0.969] for BWF and 0.686 (95% CI: 0.592-0.780) for plasma (p < 0.001). The fractional abundance was higher in BWF of the mEGFR-positive cases than in the plasma (p = 0.004), facilitating easy threshold setting and discrimination between mEGFR-positive and negative cases. When genotyping results obtained using plasma and BWF were compared for early lung cancer (stages I-IIIA), the diagnostic yields were significantly higher for BWF ddPCR, and the same tendency was observed for the advanced stages, suggesting that the BWF data may reflect the genotype status in early-stage patients. The mEGFR genotyping results obtained using BWF showed a higher diagnostic efficacy than did those obtained using the plasma. Thus, BWF-based genotyping may be a useful substitute for that using plasma in lung cancer.