Evaluation of three advanced methodologies, COLD-PCR, microarray and ddPCR, for identifying the mutational status by liquid biopsies in metastatic colorectal cancer patients

Silvia Galbiati, Francesco Damin, Valentina Burgio, Angela Brisci, Nadia Soriani, Bernadette Belcastro, Chiara Di Resta, Luca Gianni, Marcella Chiari, Monica Ronzoni, Maurizio Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A major effort has been focused on the detection of oncogenes’ mutations in diverse types of clinical specimens including formalin-fixed and paraffin embedded tissues, presently the gold–standard samples, up to plasma, that constitute a noninvasive alternative source of tumor DNA. The reliable detection of mutations in circulating tumor DNA requires a high analytical sensitivity. Here, we applied three different highly sensitive methodologies (COLD-PCR, a microarray–based approach and the droplet digital PCR, ddPCR) to identify mutations in the plasma of 30 metastatic colorectal cancer patients previously genotyped on tissue biopsy. The methods showed a modest concordance rate with respect to the results obtained on tissue biopsies: 63.3% by ddPCR, 63% by microarray and 55.6% by COLD-PCR. This could be ascribed either to the different timing between tissue and liquid biopsy collection, which could reflect a different stage of disease progression or to the diverse sensitivity of the methodologies applied. Indeed, if we compare the results obtained on plasma samples, the concordance rates were higher especially by comparing ddPCR versus COLD-PCR (92.6%). Thus, we consider both methodologies as useful procedures easily transferable in a clinical setting. Notably, the ddPCR allows a quantitative assessment of the fractional abundance of the mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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