Clinical Validation of Whole Genome Sequencing for Cancer Diagnostics

Paul Roepman*, Ewart de Bruijn, Stef van Lieshout, Lieke Schoenmaker, Mirjam C. Boelens, Hendrikus J. Dubbink, Willemina R. R. Geurts-Giele, Floris H. Groenendijk, Manon M. H. Huibers, Mariëtte E. G. Kranendonk, Margaretha G. M. Roemer, Kris G. Samsom, Marloes Steehouwer, Wendy W. J. de Leng, Alexander Hoischen, Bauke Ylstra, Kim Monkhorst, Jacobus J. M. van der Hoeven, Edwin Cuppen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Whole genome sequencing (WGS) using fresh-frozen tissue and matched blood samples from cancer patients may become the most complete genetic tumor test. With the increasing availability of small biopsies and the need to screen more number of biomarkers, the use of a single all-inclusive test is preferable over multiple consecutive assays. To meet high-quality diagnostics standards, we optimized and clinically validated WGS sample and data processing procedures, resulting in a technical success rate of 95.6% for fresh-frozen samples with sufficient (≥20%) tumor content. Independent validation of identified biomarkers against commonly used diagnostic assays showed a high sensitivity (recall; 98.5%) and precision (positive predictive value; 97.8%) for detection of somatic single-nucleotide variants and insertions and deletions (across 22 genes), and high concordance for detection of gene amplification (97.0%; EGFR and MET) as well as somatic complete loss (100%; CDKN2A/p16). Gene fusion analysis showed a concordance of 91.3% between DNA-based WGS and an orthogonal RNA-based gene fusion assay. Microsatellite (in)stability assessment showed a sensitivity of 100% with a precision of 94%, and virus detection (human papillomavirus), an accuracy of 100% compared with standard testing. In conclusion, whole genome sequencing has a >95% sensitivity and precision compared with routinely used DNA techniques in diagnostics, and all relevant mutation types can be detected reliably in a single assay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-833
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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