Clinical Outcomes for Plasma-Based Comprehensive Genomic Profiling Versus Standard-of-Care Tissue Testing in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer


Background: Somatic genomic testing is recommended by numerous expert guidelines to inform targeted therapy treatment for patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC). The NILE study was a prospective observational study that demonstrated noninferiority of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (cfDNA)-based tumor genotyping compared to tissue-based genotyping to find targetable genomic alterations in patients with newly diagnosed nonsquamous aNSCLC. As the cohort has matured, clinical outcomes data can now be analyzed.

Methods: This prospective, multicenter North American study enrolled patients with previously untreated nonsquamous aNSCLC who had standard of care (SOC) tissue genotyping performed and concurrent comprehensive cfDNA analysis (Guardant360). Patients with targetable genomic alterations, as defined by NCCN guidelines, who were treated with physician’s choice of therapy had objective response rates, disease control rate, and time to treatment collected and compared to published outcomes.

Results: Among 282 patients, 89 (31.6%) had an actionable biomarker, as defined by NCCN, detected by tissue (21.3%) and/or cfDNA (27.3%) analysis. Sixty-one (68.5%) of these were treated with an FDA-approved targeted therapy guided by somatic genotyping results (EGFR, ALK, ROS1). Thirty-three patients were eligible for clinical response evaluation and demonstrated an objective response rate of 58% and disease control rate of 94%. Twenty-five (76%) and 17 (52%) achieved a durable response > 6 months and 12 months, respectively. The time to treatment (TtT) was significantly faster for cfDNA-informed biomarker detection as compared to tissue genotyping (18 vs. 31 days, respectively; P = .0008).

Conclusions: cfDNA detects guideline-recommended biomarkers at a rate similar to tissue genotyping, and therapeutic outcomes based on plasma-based comprehensive genomic profiling are comparable to published targeted therapy outcomes with tissue profiling, even in community-based centers.