Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and disease recurrence in early stage pancreatic cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology

Zimu Gong, Abdullah Esmail, Maen Abdelrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


e16313Background: Surgical resection with neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant chemotherapy remains to be the cornerstone in treatment for early-stage pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Disease recurrence after curative intent treatment remains to be very common, and early detection of disease recurrence remains challenging. Recent studies explored the role of ctDNA in guiding adjuvant treatment in colon cancer, but its role in pancreatic cancer remains unknown. Methods: Through comprehensive chart review, we identified patients who: 1. Diagnosed with early-stage pancreatic adenocarcinoma; 2. Underwent curative intent surgery at our institution from 2019 to 2021; 3. Have postoperative tissue informed ctDNA results with commercially available assay (Signatera, by Natera Inc). Results: A total of 14 patients, including 7 males and 7 females, were included in the study. Depending on location of tumor, types of surgery included Whipple procedure (N = 13) and distal pancreatectomy (N = 1). The median age at time of surgery was 62 years (Range: 41-83 years). Two patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 13 patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Two patients also received adjuvant radiation. A total of 41 ctDNA readings were obtained. The median time from surgery to first ctDNA assay was 2.4 months. First post-op ctDNA was positive in 6 patients, all of whom received adjuvant chemotherapy but still experienced clinical recurrence after a median of 3.7 months. The median overall survival of those ctDNA+ patients was 11.4 months. In the remaining 8 patients, the median progression free survival was 14 months, with clinical recurrence being observed in 4 patients. Median overall survival was not reached at median follow up of 30.5 months (one patient died at 6 months without disease recurrence, and another died at 14 months with progressive disease). In the 4 patients who had clinical recurrence despite initially negative ctDNA, ctDNA turned positive 1 month before clinical recurrence in 1 patient. However, in the other 3 patients, recurrence occurred 3.1, 1.9 and 3.5 months after the most recent negative ctDNA result. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that positive ctDNA reliably predicts clinical recurrence in early-stage pancreatic cancer after surgery, with a positive predictive value of 100%. Negative result appears to be less reliable. This may be explained by different shedding pattern and test sensitivity. Larger scale study is underway to further evaluate its role in determining prognosis and guiding adjuvant treatment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e16313-e16313
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number16_suppl
StatePublished - 2023


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