Preoperative Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) in Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer Treatment Outcome.

Tumor heterogeneity and lack of personalized prognosis leads to bladder cancer (BlCa) patients' lifelong surveillance with invasive interventions, highlighting the need for modern minimally invasive tools for disease management. Herein, we have evaluated the clinical utility of preoperative serum cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in ameliorating patients' risk-stratification and prognosis.

cfDNA was purified from 190 preoperative BlCa patients and 26 healthy individuals' serum samples and quantified by 2 assays: an in-house quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay using LEP as reference control and a direct fluorometric assay using Qubit HS dsDNA. Capillary electrophoresis was performed in 31 samples for cfDNA fragment profiling. Tumor relapse/progression and metastasis/death were used as clinical endpoints for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer and muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), respectively.

cfDNA profiling by capillary electrophoresis highlighted that total and fragment-related cfDNA levels were significantly increased in BlCa and associated with advance disease stages. Evaluation of cfDNA levels by both Qubit/qPCR displayed highly consistent results (rs = 0.960; P < 0.001). Higher cfDNA was correlated with MIBC and stronger risk for early metastasis (Qubit:hazard ratio [HR] = 3.016, P = 0.009; qPCR:HR = 2.918, P = 0.004) and poor survival (Qubit:HR = 1.898, P = 0.042; qPCR:HR = 1.888, P = 0.026) of MIBC patients. Multivariate cfDNA-fitted models led to superior risk stratification and net benefit for MIBC prognosis compared to disease established markers.

Elevated preoperative cfDNA levels are strongly associated with higher risk for short-term metastasis and poor outcome of MIBC, supporting modern noninvasive disease prognosis and management.

Clinical chemistry. 2023 Feb 04 [Epub ahead of print]

Maria-Alexandra Papadimitriou, Panagiotis Levis, Georgios Kotronopoulos, Konstantinos Stravodimos, Margaritis Avgeris, Andreas Scorilas

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece., First Department of Urology, "Laiko" General Hospital, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.