Background: The risk of recurrence after completion of curative-intent treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) is hard to predict. Post-treatment assaying for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) is an encouraging approach for stratifying patients for therapy, but the prognostic value of this approach is less explored. This study aimed to determine if detection of methylated BCAT1 and IKZF1 following completion of initial treatment identified patients with a poorer recurrence-free survival (RFS).
Methods: 142 CRC stage I-III cases with at least 2 years of follow up (unless recurrence was evident sooner) and a methylated BCAT1/IKZF1 test result between 2 weeks and 12 months after completion of initial treatment were eligible for study inclusion. The association between BCAT1/IKZF1 and RFS was assessed by the log-rank (Mantel-Cox) method. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was used for multivariable survival analysis.
Results: Thirty-three (23.2%) had recurrence at a median 1.6y (interquartile range: 0.8–2.4). Methylated BCAT1/IKZF1 was detected in 19 of the 142 patients (13.4%) and was associated with a significant risk of recurrence (hazard ratio [HR] 5.7, 95%CI: 1.9–17.3, p = 0.002). Three-year RFS for patients with or without detectable methylated BCAT1/IKZF1 was 56.5% and 83.3%, respectively. Multivariable analysis showed that detection of methylated BCAT1/IKZF1 (HR = 2.6, p = 0.049) and site of the primary tumor (HR = 4.2, p = 0.002) were the only significant prognostic indicators of poor RFS.
Conclusions: BCAT1/IKZF1 methylation testing after curative-intent treatment is an independent prognostic indicator for RFS and identifies a subgroup at high risk. Personalized surveillance is warranted for patients with these ctDNA biomarkers detectable after curative-intent treatment.
- circulating tumor DNA
- colorectal cancer