Chromosome 6p amplification in aqueous humor cell-free DNA is a prognostic biomarker for retinoblastoma ocular survival

Liya Xu, Ashley Polski, Rishvanth K. Prabakar, Mark W. Reid, Patricia Chevez-Barrios, Rima Jubran, Jonathan W. Kim, Peter Kuhn, David Cobrinik, James Hicks, Jesse L. Berry

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38 Scopus citations


Aqueous humor contains tumor-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and can serve as a liquid biopsy for retinoblastoma. We previously associated somatic copy-number alteration (SCNA) 6p gain with a 10-fold increased risk of enucleation. Here we provide a 2-year update to further explore 6p gain as a prognostic biomarker for ocular survival. Patients diagnosed with retinoblastoma from December 2014 to July 2019 from whom aqueous humor was sampled were included. cfDNA was extracted and shallow whole-genome sequencing performed to identify highly recurrent retinoblastoma SCNAs (gain of 1q, 2p, 6p, loss of 13q, 16q). 116 aqueous humor samples from 50 eyes of 46 patients were included: 27 eyes were salvaged, 23 were enucleated. Highly recurrent retinoblastoma SCNAs were found in 66% eyes. 6p gain was the most prevalent SCNA (50% eyes). It was particularly more prevalent in enucleated eyes (73.9%) than in salvaged eyes (29.6%; P = 0.004). 6p gain in aqueous humor cfDNA portended nearly 10-fold increased odds of enucleation (OR = 9.87; 95% confidence interval = 1.75-55.65; P = 0.009). In the enucleated eyes, 6p gain was associated with aggressive histopathologic features, including necrosis, higher degrees of anaplasia, and focal invasion of ocular structures. With extended follow-up and nearly double the aqueous humor samples, we continue to demonstrate 6p gain as a potential prognostic biomarker for retinoblastoma. IMPLICATIONS: Aqueous humor is a high-yield source of tumor-derived DNA in retinoblastoma eyes. Detection of 6p gain in the aqueous humor allows for targeted, patient-centered therapies based on this molecular prognostic marker. Prospective, multicenter studies with aqueous humor sampled from all eyes at diagnosis are warranted to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1175
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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