Noninvasive detection of cancer-associated genomewide hypomethylation and copy number aberrations by plasma DNA bisulfite sequencing

K. C. Allen Chan, Peiyong Jiang, Carol W.M. Chan, Kun Sun, John Wong, Edwin P. Hui, Stephen L. Chan, Wing Cheong Chan, David S.C. Hui, Simon S.M. Ng, Henry L.Y. Chan, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong, Brigette B.Y. Ma, Anthony T.C. Chan, Paul B.S. Lai, Hao Sun, Rossa W.K. Chiu, Y. M. Dennis Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

311 Citations (Scopus)


We explored the detection of genome-wide hypomethylation in plasma using shotgun massively parallel bisulfite sequencing as a marker for cancer. Tumor-associated copy number aberrations (CNAs) could also be observed from the bisulfite DNA sequencing data.Hypomethylation andCNAswere detected in the plasmaDNAof patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, smoothmuscle sarcoma, and neuroendocrine tumor. For the detection of nonmetastatic cancer cases, plasma hypomethylation gave a sensitivity and specificity of 74% and 94%, respectively,when amean of 93million reads per case were obtained. Reducing the sequencing depth to 10 million reads per case was found to have no adverse effect on the sensitivity and specificity for cancer detection, giving respective figures of 68% and 94%. This characteristic thus indicates that analysis of plasma hypomethylation by this sequencing-based method may be a relatively cost-effective approach for cancer detection. We also demonstrated that plasma hypomethylation had utility formonitoring hepatocellular carcinoma patients following tumor resection and for detectingresidual disease. Plasma hypomethylation can be combinedwith plasma CNA analysis for further enhancement of the detection sensitivity or specificity using different diagnostic algorithms. Using the detection of at least one type of aberration to define an abnormality, a sensitivity of 87% could be achieved with a specificity of 88%. These developments have thus expanded the applications of plasma DNA analysis for cancer detection and monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18761-18768
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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