Genomic cfDNA analysis of aqueous humor in retinoblastoma predicts eye salvage: The surrogate tumor biopsy for retinoblastoma

Jesse L. Berry, Liya Xu, Irsan Kooi, A. Linn Murphree, Rishvanth K. Prabakar, Mark Reid, Kevin Stachelek, Bao Han A. Le, Lisa Welter, Bibiana J. Reiser, Patricia Chévez-Barrios, Rima Jubran, Thomas C. Lee, Jonathan W. Kim, Peter Kuhn, David Cobrinik, James Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Tumor-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has biomarker potential; therefore, this study aimed to identify cfDNA in the aqueous humor (AH) of retinoblastoma eyes and correlate somatic chromosomal copy-number alterations (SCNA) with clinical outcomes, specifically eye salvage. AH was extracted via paracentesis during intravitreal injection of chemotherapy or enucleation. Shallow whole-genome sequencing was performed using isolated cfDNA to assess for highly recurrent SCNAs in retinoblastoma including gain of 1q, 2p, 6p, loss of 13q, 16q, and focal MYCN amplification. Sixty-three clinical specimens of AH from 29 eyes of 26 patients were evaluated; 13 eyes were enucleated and 16 were salvaged (e.g., saved). The presence of detectable SCNAs was 92% in enucleated eyes versus 38% in salvaged eyes (P=0.006).Gain of chromosome 6pwas themost common SCNA found in 77% of enucleated eyes, compared with 25% of salvaged eyes (P = 0.0092), and associated with a 10-fold increased odds of enucleation (OR, 10; 95% CI, 1.8- 55.6). The median amplitude of 6p gain was 1.47 in enucleated versus 1.07 in salvaged eyes (P = 0.001). The presence of AH SCNAs was correlated retrospectively with eye salvage. The probability of ocular salvage was higher in eyes without detectable SCNAs in the AH (P = 0.0028), specifically 6p gain. This is the first study to correlate clinical outcomes with SCNAs in the AHfrom retinoblastoma eyes, as such thesefindings indicate that 6p gain in the aqueous humor is a potential prognostic biomarker for poor clinical response to therapy. Implications: The correlation of clinical outcomes and SCNAs in the AH identified in the current study requires prospective studies to validate these finding before SCNAs, like 6p gain, can be used to predict clinical outcomes at diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1701-1712
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Genomic cfDNA analysis of aqueous humor in retinoblastoma predicts eye salvage: The surrogate tumor biopsy for retinoblastoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this