Jiawei Lv 1 , Yupei Chen 1 , Guanqun Zhou 1 , Zhenyu Qi 1 , Kuan Rui Lloyd Tan 2 , Haitao Wang 2 , Li Lin 1 , Foping Chen 1 , Lulu Zhang 1 , Xiaodan Huang 1 , Ruiqi Liu 1 , Sisi Xu 1 , Yue Chen 1 , Jun Ma 1 , Melvin L. K. Chua , 2 , Ying Sun , 1
2 September 2019
Liquid biopsies have the utility for detecting minimal residual disease in several cancer types. Here, we investigate if liquid biopsy tracking on-treatment informs on tumour phenotypes by longitudinally quantifying circulating Epstein-barr virus (EBV) DNA copy number in 673 nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients undergoing radical induction chemotherapy (IC) and chemo-radiotherapy (CRT). We observe significant inter-patient heterogeneity in viral copy number clearance that is classifiable into eight distinct patterns based on clearance kinetics and bounce occurrence, including a substantial proportion of complete responders (≈30%) to only one IC cycle. Using a supervised statistical clustering of disease relapse risks, we further bin these eight subgroups into four prognostic phenotypes (early responders, intermediate responders, late responders, and treatment resistant) that are correlated with efficacy of chemotherapy intensity. Taken together, we show that real-time monitoring of liquid biopsy response adds prognostic information, and has the potential utility for risk-adapted treatment de-intensification/intensification in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Liquid biopsies are emerging as a useful method for diagnosis and prognosis in cancer. Here, the authors show the prognostic value of monitoring the level of circulating Epstein-barr virus DNA throughout induction chemotherapy and chemo-radiotherapy and its potential utility for risk-adapted individualised therapy in nasopharyngeal carcinomapatients.