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19.05.2017 | Short Communication | Ausgabe 3/2017

Targeted Oncology 3/2017

Circulating Tumor DNA Measurement by Picoliter Droplet-Based Digital PCR and Vemurafenib Plasma Concentrations in Patients with Advanced BRAF-Mutated Melanoma

Targeted Oncology > Ausgabe 3/2017
Fanny Garlan, Benoit Blanchet, Nora Kramkimel, Alicja Puszkiel, Jean-Louis Golmard, Gaelle Noe, Nicolas Dupin, Pierre Laurent-Puig, Michel Vidal, Valerie Taly, Audrey Thomas-Schoemann
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11523-017-0491-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has been reported as a prognostic marker in melanoma. In BRAF V600-mutant melanoma, a plasma under-exposure to vemurafenib could favor emerging resistance but no biological data are available to support this hypothesis.


We aimed to investigate the relationship between vemurafenib plasma concentrations and the ctDNA plasma concentration during follow-up of BRAF-mutated melanoma patients.

Patients and Methods

Eleven patients treated with single-agent vemurafenib for advanced BRAF V600-mutant melanoma were analyzed in an exploratory monocentric study. The vemurafenib plasma concentration was measured by liquid chromatography. ctDNA was extracted from plasma samples and the ctDNA concentration was evaluated using picoliter droplet-based digital PCR with Taqman® detection probes targeting the BRAF p.V600E/K mutation and wild-type BRAF sequences.


At baseline, plasma ctDNA was detectable in 72% (n = 8/11) of patients and the ctDNA concentration decreased in 88% of these patients (n = 7/8) from day (D) 0 to D15 after vemurafenib initiation. During follow-up, an increased ctDNA concentration was detected in nine patients: in five patients, the first increase in ctDNA concentrations followed a decrease in vemurafenib concentrations. More interestingly, an inverse correlation between vemurafenib concentration and ctDNA concentrations was demonstrated (p = 0.026). The ctDNA concentration at baseline was associated with overall survival (hazard ratio = 2.61, 95% CI 1.04–6.56; p = 0.04).


This study demonstrates the relevance of vemurafenib plasma monitoring during the follow-up of metastatic melanoma patients. Plasma drug monitoring and ctDNA concentrations could be combined to monitor tumor evolution in melanoma patients treated with anti-BRAF therapies.

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