The clinical landscape of cell-free DNA alterations in 1671 patients with advanced biliary tract cancer

J. E. Berchuck, F. Facchinetti, D. F. DiToro, I. Baiev, U. Majeed, S. Reyes, C. Chen, K. Zhang, R. Sharman, P. L.S. Uson Junior, J. Maurer, R. T. Shroff, C. C. Pritchard, M. J. Wu, D. V.T. Catenacci, M. Javle, L. Friboulet, A. Hollebecque, N. Bardeesy, A. X. ZhuJ. K. Lennerz, B. Tan, M. Borad, A. R. Parikh, L. A. Kiedrowski, R. K. Kelley, K. Mody, D. Juric, L. Goyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Targeted therapies have transformed clinical management of advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC). Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) analysis is an attractive approach for cancer genomic profiling that overcomes many limitations of traditional tissue-based analysis. We examined cfDNA as a tool to inform clinical management of patients with advanced BTC and generate novel insights into BTC tumor biology. Patients and methods: We analyzed next-generation sequencing data of 2068 cfDNA samples from 1671 patients with advanced BTC generated with Guardant360. We carried out clinical annotation on a multi-institutional subset (n = 225) to assess intra-patient cfDNA–tumor concordance and the association of cfDNA variant allele fraction (VAF) with clinical outcomes. Results: Genetic alterations were detected in cfDNA in 84% of patients, with targetable alterations detected in 44% of patients. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) fusions, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) mutations, and BRAF V600E were clonal in the majority of cases, affirming these targetable alterations as early driver events in BTC. Concordance between cfDNA and tissue for mutation detection was high for IDH1 mutations (87%) and BRAF V600E (100%), and low for FGFR2 fusions (18%). cfDNA analysis uncovered novel putative mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies, including mutation of the cysteine residue (FGFR2 C492F) to which covalent FGFR inhibitors bind. High pre-treatment cfDNA VAF was associated with poor prognosis and shorter response to chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Finally, we report the frequency of promising targets in advanced BTC currently under investigation in other advanced solid tumors, including KRAS G12C (1.0%), KRAS G12D (5.1%), PIK3CA mutations (6.8%), and ERBB2 amplifications (4.9%). Conclusions: These findings from the largest and most comprehensive study to date of cfDNA from patients with advanced BTC highlight the utility of cfDNA analysis in current management of this disease. Characterization of oncogenic drivers and mechanisms of therapeutic resistance in this study will inform drug development efforts to reduce mortality for patients with BTC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1269-1283
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • biliary tract cancer
  • cell-free DNA
  • cholangiocarcinoma
  • liquid biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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