Feasibility of whole-genome sequencing-based tumor diagnostics in routine pathology practice.


The current increase in number and diversity of targeted anticancer agents poses challenges to the logistics and timeliness of molecular diagnostics (MolDx), resulting in underdiagnosis and treatment. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) may provide a sustainable solution for addressing current as well as future diagnostic challenges. The present study therefore aimed to prospectively assess feasibility, validity, and value of WGS in routine clinical practice. WGS was conducted independently of, and in parallel with, standard of care (SOC) diagnostics on routinely obtained tumor samples from 1,200 consecutive patients with metastatic cancer. Results from both tests were compared and discussed in a dedicated tumor board. From 1,200 patients, 1,302 samples were obtained, of which 1,216 contained tumor cells. WGS was successful in 70% (854/1,216) of samples with a median turnaround time of 11 days. Low tumor purity (<20%) was the main reason for not completing WGS. WGS identified 99.2% and SOC MolDx 99.7% of the total of 896 biomarkers found in genomic regions covered by both tests. Actionable biomarkers were found in 603/848 patients (71%). Of the 936 associated therapy options identified by WGS, 343 were identified with SOC MolDx (36.6%). Biomarker-based therapy was started in 147 patients. WGS revealed 49 not previously identified pathogenic germline variants. Fresh-frozen, instead of formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded, sample logistics were easily adopted as experienced by the professionals involved. WGS for patients with metastatic cancer is well feasible in routine clinical practice, successfully yielding comprehensive genomic profiling for the vast majority of patients. © 2022 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

More about this publication

The Journal of pathology
  • Volume 258
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 179-188
  • Publication date 01-10-2022

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