Cell-free DNA for the detection of emerging treatment failure in relapsed/ refractory multiple myeloma

Leukemia. 2022 Jan 13. doi: 10.1038/s41375-021-01492-y. Online ahead of print.


Interrogation of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) represents an emerging approach to non-invasively estimate disease burden in multiple myeloma (MM). Here, we examined low-pass whole genome sequencing (LPWGS) of cfDNA for its predictive value in relapsed/ refractory MM (RRMM). We observed that cfDNA positivity, defined as ≥10% tumor fraction by LPWGS, was associated with significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) in an exploratory test cohort of 16 patients who were actively treated on diverse regimens. We prospectively determined the predictive value of cfDNA in 86 samples from 45 RRMM patients treated with elotuzumab, pomalidomide, bortezomib, and dexamethasone in a phase II clinical trial (NCT02718833). PFS in patients with tumor-positive and -negative cfDNA after two cycles of treatment was 1.6 and 17.6 months, respectively (HR 7.6, P < 0.0001). Multivariate hazard modelling confirmed cfDNA as independent risk factor (HR 96.6, P = 6.92e-05). While correlating with serum-free light chains and bone marrow, cfDNA additionally discriminated patients with poor PFS among those with the same response by IMWG criteria. In summary, detectability of MM-derived cfDNA, as a measure of substantial tumor burden with therapy, independently predicts poor PFS and may provide refinement for standard-of-care response parameters to identify patients with poor response to treatment earlier than is currently feasible.

PMID:35027656 | DOI:10.1038/s41375-021-01492-y