The Effect of Preanalytical and Physiological Variables on Cell-Free DNA Fragmentation

Ymke van der Pol, Norbert Moldovan, Sandra Verkuijlen, Jip Ramaker, Dries Boers, Wendy Onstenk, Johan de Rooij, Idris Bahce, D. Michiel Pegtel, Florent Mouliere

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Background: Assays that account for the biological properties and fragmentation of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) can improve the performance of liquid biopsy. However, preanalytic and physiological differences between individuals on fragmentomic analysis are poorly defined. Methods: We analyzed the impact of collection tube, plasma processing time, and physiology on the size distribution of cfDNA, their genome-wide representation, and sequence diversity at the cfDNA fragment ends using shallow whole-genome sequencing. Results: Neither different stabilizing collection tubes nor processing times affected the cfDNA fragment sizes, but could impact the genome-wide fragmentation patterns and fragment-end sequences of cfDNA. In addition, beyond differences depending on the gender, the physiological conditions tested between 63 individuals (age, body mass index, use of medication, and chronic conditions) minimally influenced the outcome of fragmentomic methods. Conclusions: Fragmentomic approaches have potential for implementation in the clinic, pending clear traceability of analytical and physiological factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-813
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number6
Early online date16 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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