Background: Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) genotyping in plasma using the cobas EGFR Mutation Test v2 (cobas) is the first liquid biopsy as a companion diagnosis to identify the EGFR T790M mutation (T790M) after the failure of treatment of EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) (1st generation, gefitinib [G] and erlotinib [E] and 2nd generation, afatinib [A]). This study investigated the clinical utility of a liquid biopsy for patients who acquired resistance to afatinib. Methods: We prospectively collected plasma from 51 patients who had acquired resistance to afatinib between April 2015 and November 2016 to evaluate the frequency of T790M by cobas and digital droplet PCR (UMIN000025112). Additionally, we retrospectively reviewed 38 patients who tested by cobas in plasma after G/E failure to compare for T790M detection between A and with G/E. Results: The detection rate of EGFR-driver and T790M in plasma in patients treated with A (A group) as a first-line EGFR-TKI was lower than with G/E followed by A (G/E→A group), although the differences were not significant (EGFR-driver: 41% [A] vs. 67% [G/E→A], P=0.1867; and T790M: 8% [A] vs. 17% [G/E→A], P=0.5798). In first-line setting, the detection rate for EGFR-driver and T790M in plasma by cobas was lower in A group than in G/E group, although there was no significant difference (EGFR-driver: 34% [A] vs. 52% [G/E], P=0.2072; and T790M: 10% [A] vs. 27% [G/E], P=0.1161). Conclusion: The detection of EGFR-driver and T790M in plasma by cobas in patients treated with afatinib might be lower than with G/E in a real-world setting.
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