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Development, testing and validation of a targeted NGS-panel for the detection of actionable mutations in lung cancer (NSCLC) using anchored multiplex PCR technology in a multicentric setting

Jörg Kumbrink
Melanie-Christin Demes
Jan Jeroch
Andreas Bräuninger
Kristin Hartung
Uwe Gerstenmaier
Ralf Marienfeld
Axel Hillmer
Nadine Bohn
Christina Lehning
Ferdinand Ferch
Peter Wild
Stefan Gattenlöhner
Peter Möller
Frederick Klauschen
Andreas Jung

March 28, 2024

Lung cancer is a paradigm for a genetically driven tumor. A variety of drugs were developed targeting specific biomarkers requiring testing for tumor genetic alterations in relevant biomarkers. Different next-generation sequencing technologies are available for library generation: 1) anchored multiplex-, 2) amplicon based- and 3) hybrid capture-based-PCR. Anchored multiplex PCR-based sequencing was investigated for routine molecular testing within the national Network Genomic Medicine Lung Cancer (nNGM). Four centers applied the anchored multiplex ArcherDX-Variantplex nNGMv2 panel to re-analyze samples pre-tested during routine diagnostics. Data analyses were performed by each center and compiled centrally according to study design. Pre-defined standards were utilized, and panel sensitivity was determined by dilution experiments. nNGMv2 panel sequencing was successful in 98.9% of the samples (N = 90). With default filter settings, all but two potential MET exon 14 skipping variants were identified at similar allele frequencies. Both MET variants were found with an adapted calling filter. Three additional variants (KEAP1, STK11, TP53) were called that were not identified in pre-testing analyses. Only total DNA amount but not a qPCR-based DNA quality score correlated with average coverage. Analysis was successful with a DNA input as low as 6.25 ng. Anchored multiplex PCR-based sequencing (nNGMv2) and a sophisticated user-friendly Archer-Analysis pipeline is a robust and specific technology to detect tumor genetic mutations for precision medicine of lung cancer patients.