Use of an integrated pan-cancer oncology enrichment next-generation sequencing assay to measure tumour mutational burden and detect clinically actionable variants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Matthew Smith
  • Toju Sillo
  • John M Findlay
  • Jean-Francois Laes
  • Gerald Martin
  • Phillipe Taniere


INTRODUCTION: The identification of tumour mutational burden (TMB) as a biomarker of response to programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) immunotherapy has necessitated the development of genomic assays to measure this. We carried out comprehensive molecular profiling of cancers using the Illumina TruSight Oncology 500 (TSO500) panel and compared these to whole-genome sequencing (WGS).

METHODS: Cancer samples derived from formalin-fixed material were profiled on the TSO500 panel, sequenced on an Illumina NextSeq 500 instrument and processed through the TSO500 Docker pipeline. Either FASTQ files (PierianDx) or vcf files (OncoKDM) were processed to understand clinical actionability.

RESULTS: In total, 108 samples (a mixture of colorectal, lung, oesophageal and control samples) were processed via the DNA panel. There was good correlation between TMB, single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), indels and copy-number variations as predicted by TSO500 and WGS (R2 > 0.9) and good reproducibility, with less than 5% variability between repeated controls. For the RNA panel, 13 samples were processed, with all known fusions observed via orthogonal techniques. For clinical actionability, 72 tier 1 variants and 297 tier 2 variants were detected, with clinical trials identified for all patients.

CONCLUSIONS: The TSO500 assay accurately measures TMB, microsatellite instability, SNVs, indels, copy-number/structural variation and gene fusions when compared to WGS and orthogonal technologies. Coupled with a clinical annotation pipeline, this provides a powerful methodology for identification of clinically actionable variants.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-349
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number3
Early online date18 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020