Circulating tumor DNA dynamics analysis in a xenograft mouse model with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Hiroyuki Terasawa, Hideaki Kinugasa, Kazuhiro Nouso, Shumpei Yamamoto, Mami Hirai, Takehiro Tanaka, Akinobu Takaki, Hiroyuki Okada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND It remains unclear which factors, such as tumor volume and tumor invasion, influence circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), and the origin of ctDNA in liquid biopsy is always problematic. To use liquid biopsies clinically, it will be very important to address these questions. AIM To assess the origin of ctDNA, clarify the dynamics of ctDNA levels, assess ctDNA levels by using a xenograft mouse after treatment, and to determine whether tumor volume and invasion are related to ctDNA levels. METHODS Tumor xenotransplants were established by inoculating BALB/c-nu/nu mice with the TE11 cell line. Groups of mice were injected with xenografts at two or four sites and sacrificed at the appropriate time point after xenotransplantation for ctDNA analysis. Analysis of ctDNA was performed by droplet digital PCR, using the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) gene. RESULTS Mice given two-site xenografts were sacrificed for ctDNA at week 4 and week 8. No hTERT was detected at week 4, but it was detected at week 8. However, in four-site xenograft mice, hTERT was detected both at week 4 and week 6. These experiments revealed that both tumor invasion and tumor volume were asso ciated with the detection of ctDNA. In resection experiments, hTERT was detected at resection, but had decreased by 6 h, and was no longer detected 1 and 3 d after resection. CONCLUSION We clarified the origin and dynamics of ctDNA, showing that tumor volume is an important factor. We also found that when the tumor was completely resected, ctDNA was absent after one or more days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7134-7143
Number of pages10
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2021


  • Circulating tumor DNA
  • Dynamics of circulating tumor DNA
  • Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Liquid biopsy
  • Xenograft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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