University of Leicester
dmm036863.full.pdf (6.01 MB)
Download file

Early detection of pre-malignant lesions in a KRASG12D-driven mouse lung cancer model by monitoring circulating free DNA.

Download (6.01 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-31, 13:08 authored by CP Rakhit, RM Trigg, J Le Quesne, M Kelly, JA Shaw, C Pritchard, LM Martins
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Two-thirds of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage that is refractory to curative treatment. Therefore, strategies for the early detection of lung cancer are urgently sought. Total circulating free DNA (cfDNA) and tumour-derived circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) are emerging as important biomarkers within a 'liquid biopsy' for monitoring human disease progression and response to therapy. Owing to the late clinical diagnosis of lung adenocarcinoma, the potential for cfDNA and ctDNA as early detection biomarkers remains unexplored. Here, using a Cre-regulated genetically engineered mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma development, driven by KrasG12D (the KrasLSL-G12D mouse), we serially tracked the release of cfDNA/ctDNA and compared this with tumour burden as determined by micro-computed tomography (CT). To monitor ctDNA, a droplet digital PCR assay was developed to permit discrimination of the KrasLox-G12D allele from the KrasLSL-G12D and KrasWT alleles. We show that micro-CT correlates with endpoint histology and is able to detect pre-malignant tumours with a combined volume larger than 7 mm3 Changes in cfDNA/ctDNA levels correlate with micro-CT measurements in longitudinal sampling and are able to monitor the emergence of lesions before the adenoma-adenocarcinoma transition. Potentially, this work has implications for the early detection of human lung adenocarcinoma using ctDNA/cfDNA profiling.A video abstract for this article is available at article has an associated First Person interview with the joint first authors of the paper.


This work was funded by the Medical Research Council, intramural project RG94521.



Disease Models and Mechanisms, 2019, 12 (2)

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/Biological Sciences/Molecular & Cell Biology


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Disease Models and Mechanisms


Company of Biologists



Acceptance date


Copyright date


Available date


Publisher version


Supplementary information available online at



Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications