A serum-based DNA methylation assay provides accurate detection of glioma


Thais Sabedot, Tathiane Malta, James Snyder, Kevin Nelson, Michael Wells, Ana deCarvalho, Abir Mukherjee, Dhan Chitale, Maritza Mosella, Artem Sokolov, Karam Asmaro, Adam Robin, Michael Rosenblum, Tom Mikkelsen, Jack Rock, Laila Poisson, Ian Lee, Tobias Walbert, Steven Kalkanis, Antonio Iavarone, Ana Valeria Castro, and Houtan Noushmehr. 2021. “A serum-based DNA methylation assay provides accurate detection of glioma.” Neuro Oncol.


BACKGROUND: The detection of somatic mutations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from liquid biopsy has emerged as a non-invasive tool to monitor the follow-up of cancer patients. However, the significance of cfDNA clinical utility remains uncertain in patients with brain tumors, primarily because of the limited sensitivity cfDNA has to detect real tumor-specific somatic mutations. This unresolved challenge has prevented accurate follow-up of glioma patients with non-invasive approaches. METHODS: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of tumor tissue and serum cell-free DNA of glioma patients. RESULTS: Here, we developed a non-invasive approach to profile the DNA methylation status in the serum of patients with gliomas and identified a cfDNA-derived methylation signature that is associated with the presence of gliomas and related immune features. By testing the signature in an independent discovery and validation cohorts, we developed and verified a score metric (the "glioma epigenetic liquid biopsy score" or GeLB) that optimally distinguished patients with or without glioma (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 97.78%). Furthermore, we found that changes in GeLB score reflected clinicopathological changes during surveillance (e.g., progression, pseudoprogression or response to standard or experimental treatment). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the GeLB score can be used as a complementary approach to diagnose and follow up patients with glioma.