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Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 521-526

Circulating free DNA as a marker of response to chemoradiation in locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma


1 Department of Pathology, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Radiology, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Nuzhat Husain
Department of Pathology, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow - 226 010, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_28_20

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Context: Liquid biopsy has moved from bench to bedside as a non-invasive biomarker for early diagnosis and monitoring treatment response. Objective: This study investigated the role of circulating free DNA (cfDNA) as a diagnostic marker in locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and in monitoring response to chemoradiation therapy. Materials and Methods: Serum was collected from treatment naïve, histopathologically diagnosed tumors in 24 HNSCC cases and 16 normal controls. CfDNA levels were quantified using β globin gene amplification. Results: The cfDNA level was significantly elevated in HNSCC (992.67 ± 657.43 ng/mL) as compared to healthy controls (60.65 ± 30.42 ng/mL, P = <0.001). The levels of cfDNA did not significantly correlate with TNM stage, lymph node involvement and grade. In responders, percentage decrease in cfDNA levels was 9.57% and 29.66%, whereas in nonresponders percentage increase was 13.28% and 24.52% at the end of three months of follow-up. Conclusion: Our study adds to the evidence that cfDNA levels are significantly higher in HNSCC cases and provides some evidence that levels increase with tumor progression. CfDNA may be a promising prospective non-invasive marker to predict response in patients undergoing chemo-radiotherapy.


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