Genotyping tumour DNA in cerebrospinal fluid and plasma of a HER2-positive breast cancer patient with brain metastases.

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BACKGROUND: Central nervous system (CNS) involvement contributes to significant morbidity and mortality in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer (mBC) and represents a major challenge for clinicians. Liquid biopsy of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-derived circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) harbours clinically relevant genomic alterations in patients with CNS metastases and could be effective in tracking tumour evolution. METHODS: In a HER2-positive mBC patient with brain metastases, we applied droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and next-generation whole exome sequencing (WES) analysis to measure ctDNA dynamic changes in CSF and plasma collected during treatment. RESULTS: Baseline CSF-derived ctDNA analysis revealed TP53 and PIK3CA mutations as well as ERBB2 and cMYC amplification. Post-treatment ctDNA analysis showed decreased markers level in plasma, consistent with extra-CNS disease control, while increased in the CSF, confirming poor treatment benefit in the CNS. DISCUSSION: Analysis of ctDNA in the CSF of HER2-positive mBC is feasible and could represent a useful companion for clinical management of brain metastases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e000253
JournalESMO Open
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • HER2 positive, breast cancer, cerebrospinal fluid, heterogeneity, liquid biopsy

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