Digital PCR-Based Method for Detecting CDKN2A Loss in Brain Tumours

Shlomo Tsuriel*, Victoria Hannes, Asala Hasona, Michal Raz, Dov Hershkovitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: CDKN2A is a key tumour suppressor gene and loss of CDKN2A can be found in many tumours. In astrocytoma grade IV, CDKN2A is deleted in more than 50% of tumours. In many instances, low-grade gliomas with homozygous loss of CDKN2A behave like high grade tumours. The available techniques for CDKN2A loss are laborious, expensive, unreliable, or unavailable in most pathology institutes. Therefore, although it is essential for accurate brain tumour diagnosis, the routine diagnosis does not include testing for CDKN2A deletion. Methods: We developed a digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) assay for CDKN2A loss detection. The assay is based on counting the copy number of CDKN2A gene and of a reference gene on the same chromosome. It was tested for the detection limit with regard to tumour content and minimal DNA quantity. It was then tested on 24 clinical samples with known CDKN2A status. Additionally, we tested 44 gliomas with unknown CDKN2A status. Results: We found that the newly developed assay is reliable in tissue with more than 50% tumour content and more than 0.4 ng of DNA. The validation cohort showed complete concordance, and we were able to detect homozygous loss in 16 gliomas with unknown CDKN2A status. Discussion: The method presented can give a fast, cost-effective, clinically reliable evaluation of CDKN2A loss in tissue with more than 50% tumour content. Its ability to work with old samples and with low amounts of DNA makes it the favoured assay in cases where other techniques fail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-698
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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