Low-coverage whole genome sequencing of extracellular vesicle-associated DNA in patients with metastatic cancer

Bella Nguyen, Nicholas C. Wong, Timothy Semple, Michael Clark, Stephen Q. Wong, Connull Leslie, Bob Mirzai, Michael Millward, Katie Meehan, Annette Lim

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8 Citations (Web of Science)


Low-coverage whole-genome sequencing (LC-WGS) can provide insight into oncogenic molecular changes. Serum extracellular vesicles (EV) represent a novel liquid biopsy source of tumoral DNA. This study compared copy number alteration (CNA) profiles generated from LC-WGS of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumoral DNA and EV-DNA obtained from cancer patients. Patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the base of tongue (n = 3) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (n = 2) were included. LC-WGS (0.5-1X coverage) was performed on FFPE-DNA and serum EV-DNA. Similarity between CNA profiles was analysed using QDNAseq. FFPE samples had a mean CNA of 31 (range 17–50) over 1.9 × 109 (range 1.0–2.6 × 109) bp in length, and EV samples had a mean CNA value of 17 (range 7–19) over 7.6 × 108 (range 2.9–15 × 108) bp in length. A mean of 8 (range 0–21) CNA over 5.9 × 108 (range 1.6–14 × 108) bp in length was found to overlap between EV and FFPE-derived samples per patient. Although the mean correlation efficient between samples was r = 0.34 (range − .08 to 0.99), this was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Regions of highest deletion and duplication in FFPE samples were not well reflected in the EV-DNA. Selected CNA regions in EV-associated DNA were reflective of the primary tumor, however appreciation of global CNA and areas of most significant change was lost. The utility of LC-WGS of EV-derived DNA is likely limited to molecular alterations of known interest.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4016
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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