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Diagnostic interest of liquid biopsy in the management of early stage pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Abstract : Introduction:One of the problems of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PC) is the latency time between the suspicion of PC and the initiation of treatments, especially neo-adjuvants that require histological evidence. Liquid biopsy methods could be a companion test for diagnosis.Objective :The main objective of the study was to compare the diagnostic performance of several liquid biopsy techniques in patients with resectable pancreatic without neo-adjuvant therapy cancer. The secondary objective was the correlation between the quantification of liquid biopsy parameters and clinic-pathologic features.Methods:First, we tested 2 CTC enrichment methods to estimate the sensitivity of CTC detection with cell spiking experiments of two pancreatic tumour cell lines in blood samples from 24 healthy volunteers using the onco-specific density gradient OncoQuick® and the negative selection enrichment method RosetteSep™. Additionally, KRAS mutations were quantified in genomic DNA of purified cells by digital droplet Q-PCR (dd-PCR) with allele specific primers.We designed a prospective clinical trial (PANC-CTC# NCT03032913) to detect circulating tumour cells (CTC), circulating tumour DNA (ADNct) and onco-exosomes in patients with pancreatic cancer and in patients in a control group using different methods. For CTCs, it was the enrichment and detection of CTCs by the CellSearch© method (reference method), the RosetteSep® and OncoQuick® CTC enrichment method and the quantification of tumor DNA by dd-PCR. Exosomes were isolated and characterized with the expression rate of Glypican-1. All patients in the study had a peripheral blood sample, patients in the PDAC group had a portal blood sample during surgery.Results:Analytical sensitivity was 100% for OncoQuick®, regardless of the cell line, and ranged between 70 and 100% for RosetteSep™. Mean recovery rate of cells was 56±23% for OncoQuick® versus 39±27% for RosetteSep™ (p<0.001). Molecular detection of mutant K-RAS alleles by ddPCR after RosetteSepTM enrichment was 3- to 4-fold more sensitive than after OncoQuick®. Thus, RosetteSep™ is more reliable in terms of recovery efficiency and KRAS mutant detection than OncoQuick®.From February to November 2017, 22 patients with resectable pancreatic cancer and 28 control patients were included. All patients were positive by at least one method. CTCs were detected in 9 patients with the cellsearch method (70% in the exclusive portal blood) and 13 with the Rosettesep method (59%), Onco-exosomes were detected in 14 out of 22(64%) patients in peripheral and/or portal blood. DNAct was detected in only two metastatic patients. The combined detection of CTCs with cellsearch and onco-exosomes was significantly correlated with progression free survival and overall survival when CTC cluster were found.Conclusion: This study suggests that combined liquid biopsy can be a promising tool for both diagnosis and prognosis in early pancreatic cancer.
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Etienne Buscail. Diagnostic interest of liquid biopsy in the management of early stage pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Human health and pathology. Université de Bordeaux, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019BORD0081⟩. ⟨tel-02900285⟩

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